Last week, I voted for H.R. 624, The Cybersecurity Information Sharing and Protection Act, commonly known as CISPA.
There is no doubt that a free and unfettered internet has been a tremendous advantage to the United States--it has allowed for the rapid growth of commerce, of community, and the exchange of ideas. I have never supported and will never support any legislation that hinders that. At the same time, this online framework which has been essential to our economic growth is also a high-value target for those who wish to do us harm. Hostile countries like China, Iran, and North Korea steal information from both government and private systems alike. CISPA allows, but does not mandate, companies, the military, and governmental organizations to voluntarily share information with each other about the security threats that they face. Our enemies don't hesitate to attack us, and we should not hesitate to let both private and public entities communicate about the threats they face.
When any legislation like CISPA is considered, privacy issues are rightfully a serious component of the debate. Before drafting this legislation, Members of Congress of both parties worked with civil liberties groups to ensure that these concerns were addressed. In fact, nearly 20 privacy-related improvements have been made to the bill over the past two years. The government will also be held responsible for damages arising from any misuse of the information, and most importantly, the provisions will expire in five years, allowing Congress a chance to evaluate the bill's impact and have another open debate on cybersecurity law.
I appreciate all of the comments that I've received from passionate and intelligent folks in the district on both sides of this debate. I believe that the government and private sector need the ability to communicate with each other to protect the country against the constant barrage of cyber attacks that we face today and that we will face in the future.