White House Preparing Executive Order As A Stand-In For CISPA

from the doing-something dept

This isn’t a huge surprise — and last month we even discussed the possibility, but it sounds as though the White House has decided that, with the failure of Congress to pass a comprehensive cybersecurity bill (CISPA passed in the House, but the rather different Cybersecurity Act failed in the Senate), it is going to issue some sort of executive order to deal with “cybersecurity issues.”

Late last week there was an awful lot of speculation over what would be, with some people arguing that it will do too much… and others arguing that it will do too little. However, late Friday, Jason Miller from Federal News Radio claimed to have seen a draft copy, and while he did not share the full copy, he did do a pretty thorough breakdown of what was in it. It sounds pretty similar to the Lieberman/Collins Cybersecurity Act — the one that failed to gain Senate approval. The parts that concerned us the most in the bill — concerning information sharing without real privacy protections — appear to be in this executive order, and in some ways may be worse. While the President cannot grant liability protections for companies who share info with the government (a major concern we had), it sounds like this executive order will put tremendous pressure on companies to share info — noting that it will begin a sort of “name and shame” program for companies who fail to take part. That seems like a recipe for a privacy disaster.

The thing that I’m still waiting for is for someone (anyone?!) to lay out exactly where the problems are with current regulations in the area. We keep hearing that there’s a real risk (though the only demonstration of that seems to be inflated, hyperbolic stories), and that without information sharing, the risk is much greater. But what has not been shown by anyone, in either Congress or the administration, is why the necessary sharing can’t happen under existing laws today. They just keep saying it can’t but refuse to point to the specific things that are causing those problems today. That’s what makes me most nervous about all of this. When those in power can’t fully articulate the problem, it seems reasonable to be quite worried about the solution. It makes it way too easy for that “solution” to be much too broad and cause all sorts of collateral damage.

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Comments on “White House Preparing Executive Order As A Stand-In For CISPA”

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Loki says:

Late last week there was an awful lot of speculation over what would be, with some people arguing that it will do too much… and others arguing that it will do too little.

And they would all be correct.

As with most bills in the last decade it will do too much to impede the freedoms and liberties of the general population, but will do next to nothing to actually keep that population safer (though it may help to tighten the illusion – ignore the man behind that curtain – that it does so).

Skeptical Cynic (profile) says:

Re: Re:

You hit the nail right on the head.

What has me concerned is that it really is freaky how much the tactics of the MPAA et al, and Big Government parallel each other.

They both push for new rules, regulations, and laws that ultimately do nothing to curb the real or perceived problem but instead do the most harm to those that are supposed to be helped by them.

It makes you really wonder how many of the people in government have been bought or have been ‘educated’ by the people in the IP industries.

Barney says:


what a joke the usa is as far as law making…its got to point almost everywhere most laws are fine as they are and politicians now need reasons to invent and continue making laws so as to have a job….ya know canada was stalemated for 5 years with a minority govt and woa that actually helped us get through the recession cause idiots didnt have absolute power over the nation to bugger it up…now they got power they dumped 150 billion debt on us…..its getting worse every minute….

Jason (profile) says:


I am not sure if the White House will be releasing an EO on cybersecurity or just updating Homeland Security Presidential Directive-7 or HSPD-7, which directly relates to critical infrastructure protection.

I would much rather the latter over the former because an update of existing policy is far better that unilateral creation of a new one which is conflicting or redundant.

Danny says:

That’s what makes me most nervous about all of this. When those in power can’t fully articulate the problem, it seems reasonable to be quite worried about the solution. It makes it way too easy for that “solution” to be much too broad and cause all sorts of collateral damage.
As you should be worried.

And I would probably put collateral damage in quote marks to because you can more than likely bet that broadness you speak of is exactly what the ones pushing for this want. Collateral damage imples that said damage is unintentional. I refuse to believe that the damage caused by such broadness would be anything but intentional.

Skeptical Cynic (profile) says:

Re: executive order

It is exactly that. It is a way for the President to do what he wants (within shady, uncertain limits) without having to deal with those pesky constitutional restraints.

EO totals by President:

First price to the first person who can see the pattern in the totals.

Austin (profile) says:

Re: executive order

The same reason why the fillabuster hasn’t been done away with – it’s to counter another imbalance with imbalance. EOs exist because, despite being paid extremely well to do their job, Congress doesn’t like their job (their job is to PASS LAWS, nothing else). They prefer to fillabuster everything to make Obama sound bad, and this is a problem that was done away with under Regan, but the republicans re-enstated it under Clinton.

EOs have been around since the country started but were seldom used until dubya. Now both dubya and Obama have abused the process – though for different reasons. Dubya did it because he was an impatient little shit. Obama is doing it because Congress refuses to vote on ANYTHING AT ALL until after the election (and probably afterwards, too.)

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not really an Obama fan. I’m voting for him just because he’s better than Romney, but I still want a genuine liberal to run for President.

But yeah, that’s why. It does seem to break the whole checks-and-balances system, except that it’s really just a response to a broken check that Congress shouldn’t have. Once we outlaw the fillabuster and require that Congress vote on everything quickly, I’m all for outlawing EOs too.

Skeptical Cynic (profile) says:

Re: Re: executive order

Might want to check this link (http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/data/orders.php)
so that you can look at the reality of how many EOs were issued by which President before you claim someone abused it.

Also remember the Democrats control the Senate and had control of the House for the first 2 years (which is why we have the massive extension of government control on your life and health called Obamacare). Obama can’t get the Senate to pass anything now. Seems like even his own party is scared to follow him.

Republican Bostonian says:

Re: Re: executive order

Woah woah woah…. First off, EO have been enacted as far back as Washington. Secondly, FDR has the most total and granted they were for the most part to pull us out of a Depression. BUT in history Democrats are top guns when it comes to EO’s. Trace it all the way back to the Federalists (evolution of todays Dems). They push for more gov’ regulation, less people’s rights where the Anti-Fed’s wanted less gov, more people’s rights. Dubya did 3 main EO’s and that’s because everyone screamed revenge after 9/11. Granted the other 2 EO’s were garbage.

Moral of all don’t go and point the finger with out knowing the facts. And Yes I will be voting for Romney, because I work for my money and everything I have. I’d rather not have the Gov take it away to give to someone because they cry life is too hard. Kicks me in the balls everyone I hear someone complain about their “rights” being taken away but they support the people who are taking them away…

btr1701 (profile) says:

Re: executive order

> what the fuck is an executive order exactly?
> from the look of it, its absolutely asinine
> and resembles the action of a dictator.
> some bullshit method where the president can
> bypass the checks and balances of the three
> branch system.

Apparently this president believes that Congress is only a formality in the law-making process. If Obama wants a law passed and Congress declines to cooperate, he believes he can then just do what he wants anyway via an executive order.

Previous presidents have flirted with assuming this kind of despotic authority for themselves, but Obama has really embraced it and turned it into an art form.

Obama’s favorite mantra when he speaks to his adoring faithful is, “We can’t wait.” That’s his excuse for ignoring the law of the land. When the Legislative Branch has the good sense to stop one of his stupid ideas, like this cybersecurity bill, he does not like it so instead of abiding by the Constitution, he simply imposes his will by fiat.

Amnesty for illegals, cybersecurity, repeal of the welfare work requirement– all executive orders that run contrary to valid laws passed by Congress. Yet he just does it anyway. In response to complaints about this kind of authoritarian and unconstitutional process, in 2009 simply announced, “I won the election.”

That’s it in a nutshell. “I won, therefore I can do what I want.”

Anonymous Coward says:

surely, the most important question to ask is why is it that the government insists on taking away as many human rights and freedoms as possible? people fought for and died to achieve these basic rights. because of someones paranoia all things for all ORDINARY people are being taken away. those causing this to happen may not actually be in government but have so much power as to influence what happens in government.

Michael says:

They do it because they want to grab as much power as possible; it has nothing whatsoever to do with keeping us safe from harm. If they were so concerned about the people, they’d cut back their budgets in other areas where they’re disproportionately inflated, such as national defense, and invest it in creating jobs domestically, providing better medical coverage, fair education, et al. But because both of the major parties are basically bought and paid for by Wall St., the banks and corporate interests, and are so firmly entrenched in the political landscape, what appears to be a choice between two sides has become little more than an illusion. The top 1% are at the helm and it’s going to take a lot more than voting (which btw doesn’t count for jack anymore) to restore order and balance.

Anonymous Coward says:

Well if we can’t stop them from passing these bullshit acts and orders to get our info, we just need to make the information useless. Tor and encryption and similar tools in use by default will make much info useless. Or at least useless for everything except where they have the money to try to trace all over the planet, which is most cases.

Anonymous Coward says:

so basically, the government is going to ignore the people and the peoples’ representatives, just as the peoples’ representatives ignore the people. might as well do away completely with any and all supposed democratic processes then and just let the person who can flex the biggest muscles take charge. that way, nothing has to be done, nothing has to be changed unless that one person in charge gives the go ahead. anyone opposing or standing in the way of that one person’s ideas can be eliminated as being subversive or a terrorist. seems like the only terrorists at work here are the ones that are, at least at the moment, supposed to be representing the people. but i guess that has changed drastically recently. seems like we are welcoming in the very ideology that was trying to be forced on to people 70ish years ago and was so vehemently fought against!

Byte says:

IP Protection

What I’m missing is the part that can be abused for IP Protection: the Cyber-snooping part. Section 6 is miraculously missing from TFA. Could that be it?

I can’t imaging MPAA boss Chris Dodd whould, through his ears and mouth in the White House Joe Biden, pass up such a chance.

“The final subsection would call for a report within 120 days discussing possible incentives such as liability protection,”

OK, that’s interesting. Whose liability will be “protected” and what remedies will be available to victims?

“Yeah we got hacked but we got this Gov certificate of approval so we’re not liable, kthxbye!”

Anonymous Coward says:

RNC and DNC corruption


Mitt romney supporter/s “confiscating” ron paul signs at the RNC


RNC’s stance on things like executive order

Mitt the twits version of winning a states delegates

Video compilation of votes cast for Ron Paul at the RNC

Ron Paul
Congressman Ron pauls views over the years

The military supports Ron Paul

Ron paul ignored by mainstream media MSM

Ron Paul Interviewed for Local ABC Affiliate 8/16/11

Humour with a dash of truth

Daily show ron paul

Vermin supreme

A vote for the lesser of two evils is still evil

Ron Paul Grassroots Energy http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nRtFmQgaRD0&feature=youtube_gdata_player

Anonymous Coward says:

You whipped up FUD surrounding SOPA and got six strikes, search engine demotion, content industry MOU’s with payment processors and ad networks all without any judicial oversight. You caused another FUDstorm with CISPA and are getting in the flavor of an executive order.

How’s that whole scorched earth thing of yours working out for you?

FM Hilton (profile) says:

The problem?

“They just keep saying it can’t but refuse to point to the specific things that are causing those problems today. That’s what makes me most nervous about all of this. When those in power can’t fully articulate the problem, it seems reasonable to be quite worried about the solution. It makes it way too easy for that “solution” to be much too broad and cause all sorts of collateral damage.”

The problem that anyone in the government can see is that they don’t totally control the entire internet for their own purposes.

Totally unacceptable to those who want to control everything and everyone in cyberspace.

Freedom ain’t free, you know. Gotta pay a price for it, one way or another.

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