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Government Surveillance

Cybersecurity Bill: The Good, the Bad and the Maybe

Today CDT, along with 23 other privacy and civil liberties groups, sent a letter to Senators Lieberman, Collins and Carper listing concerns about the cybersecurity bill that the senators recently introduced.

“Changes are needed to ensure that cybersecurity measures do not unnecessarily infringe on free speech, privacy, and other civil liberties interests,” the letter says.

The letter covers four areas:  Scope, preserving free speech in cyberspace emergencies, information sharing and privacy, and transparency.

In a separate letter to the Senators, CDT outlines its views on a substitute amendment to their cybersecurity bill.  That amendment, which will act as a substitute for the current cybersecurity bill, “improves and strengthens the legislation in several respects” and “reflects the open, collaborate process” of the staff in working with CDT and others to write the bill.

However, the letter also outlines concerns CDT has with the amended bill:

The bill as amended would authorize the President to declare a national cyber emergency that would trigger authority of the NCCC to ‘develop and coordinate emergency measures or actions necessary to preserve the reliable operation, and mitigate or remediate the consequences of potential disruption, of covered critical infrastructure.’ We are concerned about the scope of this authority because the activity that can be compelled is not specified. We urge you to specify the actions that are intended to be authorized.

The letter goes on to highlight other improvements, as well as note additional concerns and concludes: “We view the clarifications and refinements we will seek as necessary additions to legislation already much improved as a result of the collaboration you and your staff have welcomed.”