Senate Rejects All CISA Amendments Designed To Protect Privacy, Reiterating That It's A Surveillance Bill

from the the-exclamation-point dept

In case you weren’t already convinced that CISA is a surveillance bill masquerading as a cybersecurity bill, today the Senate rejected four separate amendments to the bill that attempted to better protect the privacy of Americans. Senator Wyden had an amendment to require the removal of personal information before information could be shared, which was voted down 55 to 41. Senator Heller had an amendment that was basically a backstop against the Wyden amendment, saying that if the Wyden amendment didn’t pass, Homeland Security would be responsible for removing such personal information. That amendment also failed by a 49 to 47 vote. Senator Leahy had an amendment that would have removed FOIA exemptions in the bill (making it much less transparent how CISA was used). That amendment was voted down 59 to 37. Senator Franken then had an amendment that would have “tightened” the definition of cybersecurity threats, so that the shared information needed to be “reasonably likely” to cause damage, as opposed to the current “may” cause damage. And (you guess it, because you’re good at this), it was also voted down by a 60 to 35 vote.

Meanwhile, Marcy Wheeler notes that the revised version of the bill by Senators Burr and Feinstein, which claimed to incorporate greater transparency requirements proposed by Senator Tester, actually takes away a lot of transparency and actually makes it more difficult for Congress to learn whether or not CISA is being used for domestic surveillance:

That Burr and DiFi watered down Tester?s measures so much makes two things clear. First, they don?t want to count some of the things that will be most important to count to see whether corporations and agencies are abusing this bill. They don?t want to count measures that will reveal if this bill does harm.

Most importantly, though, they want to keep this information from Congress. This information would almost certainly not show up to us in unclassified form, it would just be shared with some members of Congress (and on the House side, just be shared with the Intelligence Committee unless someone asks nicely for it).

But Richard Burr and Dianne Feinstein want to ensure that Congress doesn?t get that information. Which would suggest they know the information would reveal things Congress might not approve of.

Once again, these kinds of actions really only make sense if CISA is being used to justify warrantless domestic surveillance. Which once again raises the question of why Congress is willing to move forward with such a surveillance bill. We just went through a whole process showing that the public is not comfortable with secret laws and secret interpretations that lead to surveillance. Why would they immediately push for a new secret law that expands surveillance and reject any and all attempts at protecting the privacy of the American public or any sort of transparency and accountability in how the bill is used?

The bill is positioned as a cybersecurity bill, but good luck finding a single computer security expert who actually thinks the bill is either useful or necessary. I’ve been trying and so far I can’t find any.

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Comments on “Senate Rejects All CISA Amendments Designed To Protect Privacy, Reiterating That It's A Surveillance Bill”

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37 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Why would they immediately push for a new secret law that expands surveillance and reject any and all attempts at protecting the privacy of the American public or any sort of transparency and accountability in how the bill is used?

Why? Because they’re conniving, lying, stealing, back-stabbing buckets of complete and utter shit – that’s why.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

l

et’s draft a list of what we see as unconstitutional or what we should include as a no-no in whatever government follows this one

That is what the constitution does, and look at how well it works at restraining the power seekers in the US government. The problem is not making the rules, but rather enforcing them on those who hold power.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

That’s what the Constitution is supposed to do. For all intents and purposes, it is unfortunately no longer valid as these elected officials and gov agencies have demonstrated.

Yes, I hated writing that as much you reading it, but that’s the reality. For the majority of these officials, it appears they support it in theory or whenever they make a speech about something (don’t forget to add the obligatory god bless America). That’s about it I’m afraid.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

it is unfortunately no longer valid as these elected officials and gov agencies have demonstrated.

It is as valid as it ever was, and I repeat the problem is enforcing its provisions on those who seek power. The main problem with politics is keeping politicians in check and following the rules set out to limit their powers, and not defining the rules under which they should operate.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

Let’s agree to disagree. The Constitution should be valid as it forms the foundation for this country, but we’re not seeing that these days are we?

You repeated only one problem where there are many. How can you enforce something that is recognized but is easily side stepped when found restrictive? That’s been done quite regularly as we’ve seen.

I agree politicians should be kept “in check”, but we know that isn’t going to happen either. All levels of government (federal, state and local) are all showing clear signs of systemic failure to include the elected officials.

The Logician says:

We are all damaged by fear

I am reminded of the words of Captain Jean-Luc Picard concerning a mindset and situation not unlike that of the surveillance organizations and the effects their actions and those of their supporters have upon us all:

“When the first link in the chain is forged, the first speech censored, the first thought forbidden, the first freedom denied, it chains us all irrevocably. The first time any man’s freedom is trodden on, we’re all damaged.”

This comes from an incident aboard the Enterprise-D known as “The Drumhead.” A warning we would be unwise to ignore.

Rapnel (profile) says:

Gee, I had absolutely no idea national security trumps, well, everything.

This national security/police state apparatus outlined in the Constitution sure has teeth, don’t it?

It’s almost like “But when a long train of abuses and usurpations ..” is missing the key words “except when they’re done with a computer”. Someone should fill that part in so we’re no longer left wondering what the fuck just happened.

Roger Strong (profile) says:

Re: Re:

The simple fact is, “when done with a computer” DOES often change things when it comes to information. Especially with privacy. Consider the uproar in the US well over a decade ago when someone started putting drivers’ licence information online. These had always been public record, but now they were far more easily available, far more easily searched.

The same goes of course with other public information – which is why suddenly there’s a “right to be forgotten” issue. And there’s the rapid distribution of the WikiLeaks, Snowden and Sony data.

I used to hear the claim “The Internet interprets censorship as damage and routes around it!” Bruce Sterling gave the counterpoint: “The NSA interpreted privacy as damage and routed around it.” The rest of government is doing the same.

GEMont (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Sadly, thinking for yourself wins you no friends, and the freedom you feel from doing so, stops at your skin.

I’m always amazed by how very smart people can use their intelligence to keep themselves ignorant, simply to remain in good standing social-wise and avoid ostracism.

Lets face it, the vast majority of us do not want to be viewed as boat-rockers and trouble-makers and shit-disturbers, nor are most of us willing to even consider the idea that those who wield power in our name, do so without our best interests at heart, so we always conform and accept fully, the official veracity of the Pretty Lie, over the obvious veracity of the Ugly Truth.

It is apparently our nature, and thus, the key to trapping the lion’s share of us within our own self-made limitations and delusions, for fun and profit, by the most self-serving of those who do think for themselves.

Vick says:

You guys aren't getting why...

The (mass surveillance) by the NSA and abuse by law enforcement is just more part and parcel of state suppression of dissent against corporate interests. They’re worried that the more people are going to wake up and corporate centers like the US and canada may be among those who also awaken. See this vid with Zbigniew Brzezinski, former United States National Security Advisor.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n7ZyJw_cHJY

Brezinski at a press conference

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VWTIZBCQ79g

That One Guy (profile) says:

Two words: Plausible deniability

Tester, actually takes away a lot of transparency and actually makes it more difficult for Congress to learn whether or not CISA is being used for domestic surveillance:

If they can’t be expected to be informed, it allows them to pretend to be shocked and surprised when(not if) the bill is used as designed and the public suffers for it.

I mean, it would be unfair to blame them, they didn’t know, so clearly someone else is to blame, and they’ll be happy to set up a committee to see about maybe researching just who will be thrown under the bus and/or to stall for time until the heat blows over.

Anonymous Coward says:

“Which once again raises the question of why Congress is willing to move forward with such a surveillance bill. We just went through a whole process showing that the public is not comfortable with secret laws and secret interpretations that lead to surveillance. Why would they immediately push for a new secret law that expands surveillance and reject any and all attempts at protecting the privacy of the American public or any sort of transparency and accountability in how the bill is used? “

Thats easy to answer, congress knows that the American people are not happy with congress, with less then 10% approval, they know they either need to crack down or change. Well they are not going to give up the cash cow, that much is obvious, so cracking down is the only other alternative. This is about trying to stop dissent, label it as ‘terrorism’ and put the ‘bad people’ away before things snowball out of their control

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