White House Says It's Still Unhappy With CISPA, But Stops Short Of Veto Threat

from the better-than-nothing dept

Ever since CISPA passed the markup phase, people have been waiting to see how the administration would respond to the changes. Today, we got the official statement from the White House:

We continue to believe that information sharing improvements are essential to effective legislation, but they must include privacy and civil liberties protections, reinforce the roles of civilian and intelligence agencies, and include targeted liability protections. The Administration seeks to build upon the productive dialogue with Chairman Rogers and Ranking Member Ruppersberger over the last several months, and the Administration looks forward to continuing to work with them to ensure that any cybersecurity legislation reflects these principles. Further, we believe the adopted committee amendments reflect a good faith-effort to incorporate some of the Administration's important substantive concerns, but we do not believe these changes have addressed some outstanding fundamental priorities.

Though it doesn't raise the possibility of a veto, and even avoids explicitly taking a position of support or opposition, it serves as a fairly clear indication that the administration will not be supporting CISPA. Nevertheless, it's a little disappointing in its meekness.

Whenever someone spends that many words acknowledging the "good faith" of their opponent and boasting about "productive dialogue", it's a good sign that neither of those things are true. As we noted earlier, the amendments that were adopted during markup do not just fail to address the issues, they raise serious questions about just how much "good faith" has really been involved in this debate on the side of those who are pushing for the legislation. The dialogue, much like the one with CISPA last year, tends to go a lot like this:

Opponents: We are concerned that the bill will be abused in the following ways...
Supporters: No, we're not going to do those things.
Opponents: Good, but the language still makes it a possibility. You should re-write it to be more clear.
Supporters: Okay, we've rewritten it with a more detailed list of restrictions and exceptions.
Opponents: But these exceptions are all for exactly the things we were worried about in the first place.
Supporters: Sure, but we're not going to do those things.

The truth is, there's little evidence of any real effort to address the concerns of privacy and civil liberties advocates, the administration, or the general public. The markup session in which the final changes were adopted was closed to the public, and the responses from the bill's supporters when pressed on these issues have been somewhat less than comforting. Moreover, we shouldn't even be in the final stages of drafting legislation to solve a problem that nobody has clearly described in the first place. It's good that the White House is not giving CISPA any support, but here's hoping they go a step further and make their opposition to this whole broken approach to cybersecurity legislation explicit.



Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Apr 11th, 2013 @ 1:53pm

    Like NDAA, Obama will sign it readily.

    "here's hoping they go a step further and make their opposition to this whole broken approach to cybersecurity legislation explicit."

    Sheesh. Are you so loosely connected to reality that believe this administration will NOT go along with more surveillance state and sweeping gov't powers?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2013 @ 1:54pm

    "Supporters: No, we're not going to do those things."

    Right there, those people should be held accountable if the bill is abused in any way by anybody. Because it's impossible NOT to abuse.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      saulgoode (profile), Apr 11th, 2013 @ 2:19pm

      Re:

      Indeed. And the traditional way of ensuring accountability for such abuse is to actually prohibit it in the wording of the legislation.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        icon
        That One Guy (profile), Apr 11th, 2013 @ 2:34pm

        Re: Re:

        But doing that would add paragraphs, paragraphs of text to the bill, and who has time to read extra paragraphs?! Much easier and more rational to just take them at their word that such truck-sized loopholes would never be abused. /s

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous, Apr 11th, 2013 @ 3:42pm

    But...but...North Korea! They're gonna get us all! AAAAAAUGH!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2013 @ 3:46pm

    It's outrageous that so many laws are passed and highly influenced by the fact that politicians want campaign contributions and they want revolving door favors in the form of easy jobs that require no skill or effort when they leave office (ie: 95+ year copy protection lengths).

    The fact that politicians personally want things for themselves should play no part in law making. When creating laws politicians should only consider the public interest. The fact that this is not what politicians are basing our laws on is unacceptable and we, the public, should demand changes.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2013 @ 4:34pm

    It's almost as if on cue. TD ridicules CISPA concerns by offering mocking quotes about "planes falling from the sky" and lo and behold:

    http://www.cnn.com/2013/04/11/tech/mobile/phone-hijack-plane/index.html?hpt=hp_t2

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Uriel-238 (profile), Apr 11th, 2013 @ 5:26pm

      Re:

      Is there an actual plane falling from an actual sky?

      No.

      Is there an actual Iranian time machine?

      No. (Probably not. Otherwise, a very rich scientist would already have his copyright/patent)

      I was saying this in another thread: Whenever you say "here's a power but use it with discretion" the discretion part usually gets defenestrated.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Leigh Beadon (profile), Apr 11th, 2013 @ 5:43pm

      Re:

      If that exploit is all he says it is (which is not at all clear, since the details are a incomplete and nobody else has been able to test or examine his system) then it seems to me everything worked perfectly. The exploit was discovered by a white hat hacker, presented to other security experts without disclosing any details that would allow someone to abuse it, and privately explained to the manufacturers of the flawed equipment so that it can be fixed.

      How exactly would an ongoing program of sending internet traffic data to the NSA have helped in this situation?

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Apr 11th, 2013 @ 5:47pm

        Re: Re:

        Do you not see how something like this might be appealing to terrorists?

         

        reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

        •  
          icon
          Leigh Beadon (profile), Apr 11th, 2013 @ 5:52pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Yes. And again, it seems like the systems currently in place worked perfectly to catch this exploit before terrorists or anyone else put it into action.

          So again I ask: how would CISPA, a bill ostensibly about collecting traffic data related to network attacks as they happen so they can be better defended against next time, have helped here?

           

          reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Mike Masnick (profile), Apr 12th, 2013 @ 3:00am

      Re:

      It's almost as if on cue. TD ridicules CISPA concerns by offering mocking quotes about "planes falling from the sky" and lo and behold:


      And lo and behold, it's all bullshit:

      http://www.forbes.com/sites/andygreenberg/2013/04/10/researcher-says-hes-found-hackable -flaws-in-airplanes-navigation-systems/

      He performed it on a simulator which doesn't have the access controls actual planes do.

      This is why people like you shouldn't be anywhere near public policy on tech issues. You're suckers for a good scare story.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      Ninja (profile), Apr 12th, 2013 @ 3:45am

      Re:

      OH-MY-GOD! Flight Simulator was hacked! Planes will be coming down! CISPA is needed to avoid that!

      Note: I admit it, I wrote this comment laughing.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    special-uninteresting, Apr 11th, 2013 @ 11:32pm

    The CISPA crisis is just the latest legislative crowbar to pry at constitutionally shielded privacy armor of which the PATRIOT act was likely already a cancerous tumor. With the constitutionally weak willed electives currently holding office we can expect more of the same. That and along with all the little chipping away each little special interest virus rule tacked onto unrelated bills and acts.

    CISPA is an anti Doctor Who Cybermen defense plan. (It actually seems even more vapid than that.) Where the war and enemy are undefined and enforcement unlimited and also undefined. Such lack of definition leads to selective enforcement. Its a direct consequence known to any who have learned from history. (don't even have to read to understand lessons so basic)

    Want to get a handle on how to stop all this? It has to do with how viable candidates are forged out of the fires of political hell. What saves the good candidates from being burnt by special interest flames? (spoiler. Donate, and learn how too.) https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130411/01024022673/surprise-rep-bob-goodlatte-thinks-justice-dep artment-is-too-cozy-with-hollywood.shtml#c537 is a working plan. Please help the idea it grow with comments.

    Yes politicians revolve around campaign contributions. Its a fact. However its also a fact that zero to only a couple of dollars come from concerned citizens. Wouldn't your feel better if a few citizen focus groups were formed to support shorter copytight (right) terms?

    Parents Against CISPA. (PAC) What red blooded American would leave a legacy of tyranny for their kids?

    How about Mothers Against Eternal Copyright? (MAEC) would help keep your kids and your pocketbook out of jail.

    Or maybe Film Sex Aficionados Against Copyporn Trolls. (FSAACT) Because an unrepresented social group is a vulnerable part of society. (these days it seems) It would be nice to pressure the industry to include a sensitive, caring plot also.

    Downloads for Cultural Expansion through Sharing Media. (DCESM) Up the national IQ by sharing concepts derived and expressed by others. Stand on the shoulders of giants!

    White Hat Hackers for Computer Security. (WHHFCA) Our members pride themselves on helping America become a robustly secure computing society.

    Kind of lame. Bet there would be better acronyms made by others.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 12th, 2013 @ 8:17am

    I don't understand what you mean when you say the WH isn't supporting this. Obama has been calling for this legislation for a long time now and went as far as he himself could through executive orders. In case you haven't noticed, this administration has time and again pretended publicly that they don't support a bill the way it's written but then happily sign it once the bill crosses the desk. This administration is speaking out of both sides of its mouth and you fall hook, line and sinker into thinking Obama is on your side. Wake up and smell their bullshit.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]

    •  
      icon
      RyanNerd (profile), Apr 12th, 2013 @ 10:34am

      Re:

      "I don't understand what you mean when you say the WH isn't supporting this. Obama has been calling for this legislation for a long time now and went as far as he himself could through executive orders. In case you haven't noticed, this administration has time and again pretended publicly that they don't support a bill the way it's written but then happily sign it once the bill crosses the desk. This administration is speaking out of both sides of its mouth and you fall hook, line and stinker into thinking Obama is on your side. Wake up and smell their bullshit."

      ftfy

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This