Today, Congressman Kevin Cramer supported bipartisan legislation creating a framework for greater cyber intelligence cooperation between the private sector and the federal government. The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) passed the House earlier today, with a significant amount of both Republicans and Democrats voting in favor of the legislation. The bill now proceeds to the Senate for their consideration.
CISPA permits the voluntary sharing of information between the federal government and the private sector for the purpose of detecting and mitigating cybersecurity threats. Critics argue the Act could be exploited for alternative purposes.
"I respect those who fear this legislation is a harbinger for greater government intrusion into the private lives of our citizens," said Cramer. "I only began to consider this bill upon viable reports of successful espionage undertaken by our enemies and competitors, who not only steal our intellectual wealth, but potentially threaten our military capability."
Cramer cites a recent House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence report, which indicates China is engaged in a deliberate and methodical effort to steal American intellectual property. The same report estimates total losses from cybersecurity espionage potentially topping $400 billion per year. Last year, it was reported China stole blueprints for the F-35 and F-22 fighter aircraft. Internationally, Aramco, Saudi Arabia's national oil company, had 30,000 of their computers damaged in a cyberattack, an effort assumed to be aimed at halting their oil and gas production.
"Notwithstanding the past, present, and potential economic harm suffered by our country, and others; privacy concerns are critical," said Cramer. "I therefore voted for several improvements to ensure protection for our citizens' privacy."
Yesterday, and earlier today, Cramer supported several amendments to CISPA, clarifying the use of intelligence for cybersecurity purposes only, prohibiting the Act from being utilized to conduct surveillance of American citizens, and expanding civilian oversight of the program. As with the final Act, the amendments received healthy bipartisan support.
"Some opponents argue CISPA gives private industry carte blanche authority to do whatever they want with private data, without ramifications, even allowing them to void private contracts," said Cramer. "In actuality, this legislation expressly mandates such information can only be used for cybersecurity purposes. Nothing within this bill voids actions for breach of contract."
"I could have voted against this legislation, relying on a safe personal privacy platform," said Cramer. "However, this would serve little comfort to those North Dakotans whose bank accounts are raided in the future by Chinese or Iranian hackers, especially if it could have been avoided by the improved coordination [between our civilian and government stakeholders] I feel this legislation provides."