U.S. Representative Colleen Hanabusa (HI-01) voted for a bipartisan bill that would better defend our country's vital networks, intellectual property, and national security from cyber security threats, while protecting the privacy and civil liberties of the American public.
H.R. 624, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), establishes procedures that allow the intelligence community to share cyber-threat intelligence with private sector entities, such as businesses and utilities, and encourages the private sector to share cyber-threat information that it detects, in order to defend America's networks from attacks from foreign governments, terrorist organizations, and criminal groups. The measure does not give the government any authority to search or monitor the content of an individual's emails or personal computer.
"Without cyber security, we are all vulnerable," said Hanabusa. "Billions of dollars worth of intellectual property and information belonging to our country and our citizens have been stolen by foreign countries and criminal groups. The difficult part in creating cyber security legislation is always finding the right balance. The balance between properly defending our entities against cyber threats, with having the necessary liability protections in place to encourage these entities to share information with each other, all while protecting the privacy of our every day citizens.
"This is not a perfect bill, but I believe it is a step in the right direction. The measure was amended to increase privacy protections and it implements necessary measures to defend the important networks that power our homes, protect our bank accounts, and defend our national security."
From the time the bill was introduced, it has been amended several times to enhance privacy and civil liberties protections. For example, the measure requires the government to minimize the amount of "personally identifiable information (PII)" it receives from the private sector, and participating entities may only use the shared information for cyber security purposes.
Under the measure, in order for a company to be allowed to participate in the program, its personnel are required to have the necessary security clearances following the guidelines provided by the Director of National Intelligence. The information they share will be treated as proprietary information and exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
CISPA has a five-year sunset provision, which ensures Congress must reevaluate the bill before renewing it in 2018.
To further protect the privacy of Americans, Hanabusa voted in favor of the Democrats' final amendment to the bill which would have prohibited employers, prospective employers, or the federal government from asking an applicant to hand over their passwords to their social networking accounts. It also prohibits the federal government from creating a national internet firewall to control Americans' access to the internet. Unfortunately, with all Democrats and just one Republican voting for it, this amendment failed.
H.R. 624 passed by a vote of 288-127 and now heads to the Senate.