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Public Statements

Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. HOLT. Madam Chair, I rise in opposition to this bill. I believe my former colleagues on the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence who have brought this bill to the floor today have only the very best of intentions. They seek to prevent cyber attacks against our nation. So do I. Unfortunately, their proposed solution is a radical over-reach that would not stop such attacks but would open up the private lives and information of Americans for the government and business to see, at will.

This bill contains the key phrase ``Notwithstanding any other provision of law .....''. What does that mean? It means that notwithstanding even the limited privacy protections in the PATRIOT Act and the FISA Amendments Act, this bill would give businesses the ability to share the public's private data among themselves and the government by invoking the phrase ``cyber threat''. It means that notwithstanding the privacy protections in HIPAA, businesses can share personal medical information with each other and the government if there is a ``cyber threat''. And the definition of cyber threat is so nebulous, so sweeping that it can be invoked for almost anything that simply look unusual or is not immediately explainable.

Chillingly, the bill in its current form would allow companies to share sensitive and personal information directly with the NSA and other military agencies, even if it is purely domestic, American information that is no way associated with foreign threats or national security events. CISPA would allow companies to share personally identifiable information without making even reasonable efforts to protect it. Finally, CISPA grants broad immunity for any ``decisions made'' based on cyber information, regardless of whether the company was acting recklessly or causes unintended collateral damage. This week the President indicated that he would veto this bill were it presented to him in its current form, as well he should. The better outcome would be for this bill to never reach his desk.

Many competent security experts have shared their views with Congress that we can better protect our nation from cyber attacks without compromising the privacy and interests of our citizens. I regret that their counsel has been ignored, which is why I urge my colleagues to join me in rejecting this badly flawed bill.

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