Senate, Once Again, Looks To Bring Back CISA: Surveillance Expansion Bill Pretending It's A Cybersecurity Bill
from the information-sharing-with-whom dept
We’ve discussed the “cybersecurity” bill, CISA, that’s been making its way through Congress a few times, noting that it is nothing more than a surveillance expansion bill hidden in “cybersecurity” clothing. As recent revelations concerning NSA’s surveillance authorities have made quite clear, CISA would really serve to massively expand the ability of the NSA (and other intelligence agencies) to do “backdoor searches” on its “upstream” collection. In short, rather than protecting any sort of security threat, this bill would actually serve to give the NSA more details on the kind of “cyber signatures” it wants to sniff through pretty much all internet traffic (that it taps into at the backbone) to collect anything it deems suspicious. It then keeps the results of this, considering it “incidental” collections of information.
In an incredibly cynical move, supporters of the surveillance state have seen OPM hacks as a ridiculous excuse to push to pass this bill. Senator Mitch McConnell tried to include it in the defense appropriations bill by pointing to the OPM hack. That gambit, thankfully, failed.
But that’s not stopping the supporters of the surveillance state. During recent Congressional hearings, surveillance state supporter Senator John Cornyn claimed that CISA would be back for a vote before the end of the month, despite having failed multiple times in previous attempts. And, earlier this week, McConnell similarly announced plans to bring it up for a vote soon — and, again in the context of the OPM hack. Here’s McConnell being interviewed on Fox News by Bret Baier:
BAIER: Senator, you mentioned cybersecurity. Hackers broke into the U.S. Office of Personnel Management, stealing background investigation forms, fingerprint records, Social Security numbers for more than 22 million people….
MCCONNELL: This is a total mess. It’s no wonder they had a hard time with the Web site which they launched Obamacare. These cybersecurity issues are enormously significant. What we’re going to do is before August, take a step in the direction of dealing with the problem with information sharing bill that I think will be broadly supported. This is an administrative disaster that the president needs to get a hold of and get straightened out soon.
What no one asks McConnell (of course) is how CISA would have had any impact on the OPM hack. Or, hell, how it would help stop a single online attack anywhere. Because that’s a question no one seems willing to answer. Because the answer was already made abundantly clear by Senator Ron Wyden in opposing this bill. It’s not about cybersecurity at all. It’s about surveillance.