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Providing for Consideration of H.R. 624, Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. CONAWAY. Mr. Speaker, I appreciate the opportunity to speak.

I rise in strong support of the rule and the underlying legislation that is before us this afternoon.

I also want to congratulate my colleague from Florida. I agree wholeheartedly with his reasons why this is important. He walked through those very eloquently.

I'd like to speak quickly as to what this bill does not do. It does not create a government surveillance program. It does not give the government the authority to monitor private networks or communications like email or other activities.

And it is strictly voluntary. It does not create a mandate on the private sector that they participate. In fact, these activities, monitoring and surveillance, are specifically excluded from being an activity that would be authorized under this bill.

There are four purposes for which this activity can be conducted, and whatever gets done has to fit within one of these four. One is cybersecurity. Two is investigating and prosecuting cybersecurity crimes. Three would be preventing death and physical injury, and four would be protecting minors from physical and psychological harm. So whatever gets done under this bill has to fit within those narrow categories specifically to make that happen.

As both speakers have said already, great work has been done in trying to protect the privacy and the civil liberties that all of us have. Those who have a grave concern that we've not fixed those, I would ask them to simply go review the contract they have with their Internet service provider. They have ceded immense personal liberties and privacies under that contract to simply sign up with that Internet service provider.

So as they look at what we're trying to do with this bill, I would argue that they may have already gone past that with respect to those guys.

This bill does nothing like that whatsoever. No personal information can be shared. There's a mandate that the government put in place filters so that, as that data's coming in at the speed of light, no one's reading this information. This is machine-to-machine. That personal information is scrubbed from that as it comes in.

There are immense reporting requirements for this system to be put in place, so that if there are occasional breaches, and there may be, that those breaches are reported on a timely basis to the committee, not at the end of some arbitrary period but as quickly as the system can report it to the oversight committees that have jurisdiction.

There is no ambiguity in this bill. It says what can be done and what cannot be done, and it outlines the consequences for breaking the law.

Let me also agree with my colleague from Florida. It has a sunset provision. Five years from now, future Congresses will have to either deal with this or it goes away. And so unlike many of our bills that just simply go on unless we actually do something, this has the protection of allowing those who disagree with it to know that there will be another bite at this apple 5 years from now if, in fact, there are things we've learned about that intervening 5-year period.

But this is critical for America to have this. If this were a physical attack on this country, there would be no question that the Federal Government, through its military, would stand in the breach and protect this country. There are no less dangerous attacks conducted against infrastructure, banks, airlines, other things every single day that we weren't able to help protect the private sector from, and this bill goes a long way toward doing that.

I urge my colleagues to support the rule and the underlying bill.


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