Consumer Advocates Letter to Senate on Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act

October 21, 2015

The Honorable Mitch McConnell

United States Senate

317 Russell Senate Office Building

Washington, DC 20510

Dear Senator McConnell:

In response to reports that the Senate may soon consider S.754, the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, the undersigned organizations respectfully submit the following letter noting our strong opposition to the proposed legislation, and our support for efforts to improve it.

Revelations about the National Security Agency’s secret collection of the personal information of millions of Americans highlighted the critical need for more oversight of government intelligence agencies and protections of consumers’ sensitive personal information. Common sense would tell us that expanding opportunities for government surveillance is not the solution to overly expansive surveillance programs. Unfortunately, a number of provisions in CISA would do just that [1].

We strongly oppose CISA because it is the wrong solution to the problem of cybercrime. Rapid and expansive sharing of cyber threat data between corporations and government agencies without sufficient safeguards will increase the risk of misuse of that information. Imposing those safeguards would require significant re-writing of the legislation. Given this problem, we believe CISA to be fatally flawed.

As the data available for collection becomes increasingly sensitive, it is Congress’ duty to ensure that individual privacy is protected. Congress can partially ameliorate the harm that CISA would cause by adopting pending consumer privacy amendments. In particular, we urge you to support the amendment Senator Wyden (D-OR) has offered (#2621) to require, to the extent feasible, that all entities remove personally identifiable information not necessary to describe or identify a cybersecurity threat before sharing cybersecurity threat information under the bill.

On behalf of America’s consumers, we urge you to oppose CISA because it will do severe harm to consumers’ civil liberties, and we urge you to support the Wyden amendment to diminish that harm.

Thank you for your consideration,

 

Center for Democracy & Technology

Center for Digital Democracy

Consumer Action

Consumer Federation of America

Consumer Watchdog

National Consumers League

Privacy Rights Clearinghouse

CC:

The Honorable Richard Burr, Chairman, Select Committee on Intelligence

The Honorable John Cornyn, Majority Whip

The Honorable Dick Durbin, Minority Whip

The Honorable Dianne Feinstein, Vice-Chairman, Select Committee on Intelligence

The Honorable Harry Reid, Minority Leader

 

[1] https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/senate-bill/754


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