Congressman Who Supports Undermining Encryption Says We Need CISA (Which Undermines Privacy) To 'Protect Privacy'

from the up-is-down,-black-is-white,-day-is-night dept

Representative Adam Schiff, the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee (the Committee that has most strongly been pushing versions of cybersecurity bills that undermine privacy and provide more surveillance powers) apparently believes that as long as he says day is night and up is down, the world will believe him. In response to Speaker Paul Ryan's decision to shove CISA into the omnibus funding bill, Schiff insisted that this was necessary to protect our privacy:
“This is the most protective of privacy of any cyber bill that we have advanced and we need to keep in mind the overriding interest all Americans have in protecting their privacy from these innumerable hacks,” Intelligence Committee ranking member Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), a cosponsor of his panel’s cyber bill, told The Hill. “Our privacy is being violated every day. And the longer we delay on measures like this, the more we subject ourselves to those kind of intrusions into our privacy.”
Nearly everything Schiff says here is complete hogwash. This bill is far from "the most protective of privacy of any cyber bill" that has advanced. Other versions clearly had more privacy protections (mainly the one advanced by the House Judiciary Committee). And, this latest one clearly strips out privacy provisions and makes it that much more difficult to protect our privacy.

And the fearmongering about "these innumerable hacks" and how "our privacy is being violated every day" is totally meaningless, because CISA does nothing to stop these hacks. We've asked many times before how would CISA have stopped a single hack and no one ever answers. We've looked hard and cannot find a single online security expert who thinks that CISA would be useful in preventing online hacks and attacks. Because it wouldn't. There is nothing in there geared towards stopping attacks.

You know what would help in protecting our privacy and limiting the damage from hacks? Stronger encryption. I wonder what Rep. Adam Schiff thinks about that?

Take a wild... wild guess. Oh, you're right: He doesn't like encryption.
"While it remains too early to tell the role encrypted communications may have played in the devastating terrorist attacks in Paris, we do know that ISIS regularly instructs its operatives to use encrypted platforms precisely to help evade detection. These platforms are made overseas as well as in the U.S., and there are significant security, technological, economic and privacy issues involved in addressing the challenge posed to the intelligence community and law enforcement by encryption.

"That is why Chairman Nunes and I – months before these horrific attacks – requested that the National Academy of Sciences, an organization that two decades ago studied this very issue, produce an updated report that can help us to identify and design effective, technologically feasible and economically viable solutions to the increasingly dangerous problem known as 'going dark.' I am pleased that the Academy is proceeding with such a study, which will help inform policymakers and the public alike.
Yup.

If Rep. Schiff was truly worried about hacks and keeping Americans' data secure, he'd be supporting strong encryption. Instead, he's looking to undermine it, while at the same time supporting a separate bill which, under the false pretense of protecting us from cybersecurity attacks, actually undermines our privacy even further.

So here's a challenge to Rep. Adam Schiff: Can you find a single recognized cybersecurity expert who thinks that the way to protect against hacks is (1) found in this Cybersecurity Act and (2) involves figuring out ways to stop encryption from letting people "go dark"? If not, perhaps you should stop saying these things and stop legislating about it.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Dec 2015 @ 11:43am

    We must kill you... to save your life! Would be a pretty fair equivalent to that statement!

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 17 Dec 2015 @ 12:04pm

      Re: Not Unusual Logic

      I read recently here on Techdirt the story of a man contemplating suicide who was killed by police officers sent to save him because they felt threatened by his possession of a weapon, a gun, which he was planning to use on himself.

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

    • icon
      connermac725 (profile), 17 Dec 2015 @ 3:38pm

      Re:

      I agree it Reminds me of a saying
      Bombing for peace is like f@#king for virginity
      same idea here

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 19 Dec 2015 @ 6:15pm

      Re:

      We must kill you... to save your life! Would be a pretty fair equivalent to that statement!

      Sometimes you have to destroy the village in order to save it. Call in another airstrike!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Dec 2015 @ 11:58am

    The only privacy he is interested in is people keeping their opinions to themselves so that they cannot organise a real political opposition, or start a revolution.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Dec 2015 @ 12:01pm

    I can imagine if were to become president he would insist we need a strong dictatorship to represent democracy.

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

  • identicon
    Trichloroethane, 17 Dec 2015 @ 12:02pm

    It is simple, they do not understand privacy.

    We have nitwits in office that are making rules for things they do not understand. This needs to stop.

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 17 Dec 2015 @ 8:15pm

      Re: It is simple, they do not understand privacy.

      They understand it perfectly well, they just only care about parts of it. They want complete and utter privacy for them, and absolutely none at all for the public.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Dec 2015 @ 12:10pm

    They are turning the argument in its head. We spy on you, because we want to make sure nobody else is spying on you!

    How cute. War is peace, slavery is freedom, and surveillance is privacy.

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

  • icon
    drwho28 (profile), 17 Dec 2015 @ 12:12pm

    NIST anyone?

    isn't it the national institute for science and technology that these representatives should be concentrating on threatening and pressuring since they are the one's that actually work on making encryption standards and not just policy papers to give politicians.

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

  • identicon
    zero, 17 Dec 2015 @ 12:18pm

    Imagine that. Another individual in congress from California who supports unchecked surveillance while simultaneously seeks to undermine encryption.

    To your congressional gophers who read these sites for you: If the world "goes dark" as you fervently believe it will (spoiler: it won't), its because you turned off the lights, not us.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Dec 2015 @ 12:35pm

    His reasoning on why they attached it to the omnibus is interesting too

    He and other CISA supporters acknowledged to The Hill that CISA doesn't have the support to get through on its own:

    from http://thehill.com/policy/cybersecurity/263537-cyber-bill-spurs-several-no-votes-on-omnibus


    “You’ ve got to attach it to something,” said House Homeland Security Committee ranking member Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), who co-sponsored his panel’s bill. “We were not able to get a conference on the bill itself, so this is a vehicle. That’s how I see it.”

    Schiff acknowledged that the process wasn’t perfect. But it was the best path under the circumstances, he said.

    “In an ideal world we wouldn’t have omnibuses, but I think after three years of working to move this issue forward we were fortunate to get on the train that’s moving,” he told The Hill.

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

    • icon
      crade (profile), 17 Dec 2015 @ 1:25pm

      Re: His reasoning on why they attached it to the omnibus is interesting too

      In an ideal world, we would pass law using some semblance of a democratic process, but then this one would never pass, so it's a good thing we aren't in an ideal world!

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

    • identicon
      Pixelation, 17 Dec 2015 @ 6:30pm

      Re: His reasoning on why they attached it to the omnibus is interesting too

      "...so this is a vehicle. That’s how I see it.”

      Hopefully this vehicle runs him over...a few times.

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

    • icon
      Rapnel (profile), 17 Dec 2015 @ 6:51pm

      Re: His reasoning on why they attached it to the omnibus is interesting too

      In an ideal world a certain will of some certain peoples would be honored.

      There is no honor in undermining privacy. There is no law so just. There is no need like the needs of power.

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

  • icon
    ECA (profile), 17 Dec 2015 @ 12:59pm

    WHO HAS A PROBLEM with this??

    Raise your hands...

    NOW if they GO BY THE LAWS...do you think THEIR servers will be encrypted??
    LETs load up that Mega server in Utah..and play video games..

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 17 Dec 2015 @ 1:05pm

    Thank heaven for Wikileaks. These lemmings have no idea, until it hits the fan.

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

  • icon
    Seegras (profile), 17 Dec 2015 @ 1:49pm

    If anything "goes dark"

    ... it will probably be the electric grid, which gets hacked through one of the government mandated backdoors.

    Surveillance is the enemy of security.

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

  • icon
    MarcAnthony (profile), 17 Dec 2015 @ 3:29pm

    Our and we

    Schiff's use of "our" and "we" in the first block quote makes perfect sense, when you realize it refers to the privacy of the surveillance state, rather than that of the citizens. They would love to go back to the pre-Snowden days and not subject themselves to the intrusiveness of others knowing that they're doing all that pesky illegal spying. Everything the government does lately just further entrenches the whole apparatus.

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

  • icon
    Coyne Tibbets (profile), 17 Dec 2015 @ 11:38pm

    Doublespeak

    “War is peace.
    Freedom is slavery.
    Ignorance is strength.”
    ― George Orwell, 1984

    Protecting privacy requires intrusions on privacy.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 18 Dec 2015 @ 1:21am

    As a European I'll be immediately asking mine and the european government to step in to protect my right to privacy the second this bill passes - shame you guys don't have any rights like that over there... [/s]

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 19 Dec 2015 @ 6:17pm

    As a European I'll be immediately asking mine and the european government to step in to protect my right to privacy the second this bill passes - shame you guys don't have any rights like that over there... [/s]

    The U.S. was founded by terrorists! It just taking a while to undo everything they did.

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


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