Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act

Floor Speech

By:  Bob Goodlatte
Date: April 26, 2012
Location: Washington, DC

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Mr. GOODLATTE. Madam Chair, I rise to offer an amendment to H.R. 3523. This amendment is the result of a series of long discussions between Members of the bipartisan coalition supporting this bill and various privacy and civil liberties groups.

As many know, I have long worked with these outside groups and with industry to make sure that where Congress acts with respect to technology, it does so in a way that is thoughtful, intelligent, and shows a strong respect for privacy and civil liberties.

I am a firm believer that Congress can craft legislation that addresses technology issues and allows the private sector to flourish while also protecting the rights of Americans. This amendment seeks to move the legislation further down that path.

To do so, this amendment carefully narrows the definitions of the key terms in the bill--``cyberthreat information,'' ``cyberthreat intelligence,'' ``cybersecurity purposes,'' and ``cybersecurity systems''--and adds in three new definitions from the existing law. Together, these new definitions ensure that companies in the private sector can protect themselves against very real cyberthreats. At the same time, they limit what information the private sector can identify, obtain, and share with others, and they do so in a way that is technology neutral so that the definitions we write into law today do not become obsolete before the ink is dry.

Specifically, these new definitions remove language from prior versions of the bill that could have been interpreted in broad ways. They remove or modify definitions that could have been thought to cover things that the bill did not intend to cover, like unauthorized access to a system or network that purely involves violations of a terms of service. These revised definitions also rely in part on existing law to cover the appropriate set of threats to networks and systems without being overly broad.

I would note that these definitional changes are important on their own for the narrowing function they serve. In the view of groups like the Center for Democracy and Technology and the Constitution Project, this amendment represents ``important privacy improvement.'' Specifically, the change to the definitions addresses a number of key issues raised by a variety of groups, and many in the Internet user community. As such, these amendments move an already important bill in an even better direction.

I reserve the balance of my time.

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Mr. GOODLATTE. Madam Chairman, I am not aware of any other speakers on this amendment, so I would urge my colleagues to support the amendment. It is, as the chairman indicated and the ranking member indicated, bipartisan legislation that will improve the underlying bill in significant ways and protect the civil liberties of American citizens in a more clear fashion.

I thank all of those in the Chamber and outside who contributed ideas to help us craft this amendment and urge all of my colleagues to support it.

I yield back the balance of my time.

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