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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  • identicon
    Jason, 27 Oct 2015 @ 12:00pm

    Progress, or something...

    Both of my state's senators voted for the original CISA bill the other day, but in the eight total votes for these four amendments there was only one case of a "nay".

    Did my messages (and others) make a difference? Or was this just dumb luck?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Oct 2015 @ 12:02pm

    Either congress is being blackmailed, or it soon will be. If they think they are safe from all this surveillance they are deluded.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Oct 2015 @ 12:19pm

    Feinstein's legacy

    I guess at the very least, I'm happy that Feinstein will retire being recognized as one of the worst advocates of personal privacy in modern times.

    I was worried she might try to "clean up" her record before she left office, but it seems she plans to go out with a bang instead.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 27 Oct 2015 @ 12:35pm

      Re: Feinstein's legacy

      POS Feinstein deserves a steel-toed boot to the crotch, and to be subsequently laughed to scorn as she rolls around in her own rancid piss.

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

    • icon
      John Fenderson (profile), 27 Oct 2015 @ 1:15pm

      Re: Feinstein's legacy

      Feinstein believes that she is taking the correct stance, so from her point of view there's nothing to clean up.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Oct 2015 @ 12:28pm

    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.

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

    • identicon
      Digitari, 27 Oct 2015 @ 12:31pm

      Re:

      that what we "vote" for........

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

      • icon
        jupiterkansas (profile), 27 Oct 2015 @ 12:33pm

        Re: Re:

        that you're given the option to vote for.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 27 Oct 2015 @ 12:38pm

        Re: Re:

        Careful how you use the term "we", buddy, - I certainly didn't vote for the aforementioned.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 27 Oct 2015 @ 1:26pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Agreed. There is no we anymore in this as they've decided we aren't fit for informed decision making or self rule. If you want as an exercise, let'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

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 27 Oct 2015 @ 1:33pm

            Re: Re: Re: 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.

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

            • identicon
              Digitari, 27 Oct 2015 @ 2:31pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              The constitution was a "gentlemans" agreement. There are no "gentlemen" any longer

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 27 Oct 2015 @ 2:38pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: 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.

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

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 27 Oct 2015 @ 2:45pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 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.

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

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 27 Oct 2015 @ 3:22pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 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.

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

                  • identicon
                    Anonymous Coward, 28 Oct 2015 @ 12:48am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    Then America is looking at a civil war if not outright rebellion in the next decade.

                    As those in power do what they want and ignore whatever rights their citizens are supposed to have people will fight back. they won't do it by protesting.

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

                    • icon
                      jupiterkansas (profile), 28 Oct 2015 @ 8:21am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      It'd take a whole lot more than that to foment rebellion. Most Americans aren't interested in giving up their cozy lives for little things like rights.

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

  • icon
    Ninja (profile), 27 Oct 2015 @ 12:50pm

    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.

    Search into the ranks of the NSA or any law enforcement agency. It's another bit of Orwell materializing into reality.

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 27 Oct 2015 @ 6:50pm

      Re:

      A single credible computer security expert then. If a 'computer security expert' works at an agency that routinely calls for and engages in breaking security for their own personal gain, I'd say it's safe to say they've lost all credibility as a computer security expert, given the massive conflict of interest in play.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Oct 2015 @ 1:05pm

    NSA clap and smile.

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

  • icon
    The Logician (profile), 27 Oct 2015 @ 1:08pm

    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.

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

  • icon
    Rapnel (profile), 27 Oct 2015 @ 1:10pm

    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.

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

    • icon
      Roger Strong (profile), 27 Oct 2015 @ 1:27pm

      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.

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

  • icon
    Rapnel (profile), 27 Oct 2015 @ 2:51pm

    I've read that as an attempt at justification. Invasive access to information by government is counter to "The Agreement". If that's something they wish to normalize then there are a crap ton of laws that need striking.. unless, of course, instilling and maintaining some level of fear is the real motive.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 27 Oct 2015 @ 3:01pm

    I hope and pray when the country gets its collective shit together that these people will go down in the history books as enemies of the people.

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

    • identicon
      Wendy Cockcroft, 28 Oct 2015 @ 5:34am

      Re:

      When they've stopped engaging in partisanship they'll be able to work together. Unfortunately too few people bother to think for themselves. It's much too easy to let others do it for them.

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

      • icon
        GEMont (profile), 1 Nov 2015 @ 11:38am

        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.

        --

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

  • identicon
    Vick, 27 Oct 2015 @ 6:41pm

    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

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

  • identicon
    Ryunosuke, 27 Oct 2015 @ 7:39pm

    "This is how Liberty dies.... With thunderous applause." - Queen Amidala, Star Wars: Episode III

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

  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 27 Oct 2015 @ 7:53pm

    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.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Oct 2015 @ 1:02am

    Almost makes it more plausible that the 9/11 was our Reichstag fire. Since that is what all this fear rhetoric is stemming from

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 28 Oct 2015 @ 1:39am

    "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

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 28 Oct 2015 @ 7:52am

      Re:

      "with less then 10% approval, they know they either need to crack down or change."

      Well... "crack down" is only a short term solution, long enough for them to retire, perhaps.

      Eventually, I believe the whole thing will crack apart and the people will stand up and fight for their freedoms.

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


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