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April 26, 2012

Second Thompson Floor Statement Opposing CISPA

(WASHINGTON) – Today, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Ranking Member of the Committee on Homeland Security, delivered the following statement (with video) on the House Floor for consideration of H.R. 3523, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA):

Mr. Chairman, I rise in opposition to H.R. 3523. I appreciate the efforts of my colleagues on the Intelligence Committee to foster greater sharing of cyber threat information. Having been involved in homeland security issues for nearly a decade, I know how important it is to protect our Nation's networks from cyber attacks. But in an effort to foster information sharing, this bill would erode the privacy protections of every single American using the internet.

It would create a Wild West of information sharing, where any certified business can share with any government agency, who can then use the information for any national security purpose, and grant that business immunity from virtually any liability. None of the amendments authored by the Chairman and Ranking Member would change any of those basic facts.

I and several of my colleagues offered amendments that would have addressed these concerns, by:

  • ensuring that civilian agencies would take the lead in information sharing;
  • restricting how the government could use the information; and
  • making sure consumers' sensitive information is adequately protected.

Unfortunately, the House will not have an opportunity to consider them today. If my colleagues want to accomplish something on cybersecurity, then vote Yes on any or all of the suspension bills we will consider today. But do not vote for H.R. 3523. It violates the do no harm rule, and would set back the privacy rights that all of our citizens have enjoyed since the establishment of the Internet.

This fatally-flawed bill is opposed by not only every major privacy and civil liberties group—from the ACLU to the Constitution Project to the Center for Democracy and Technology—but also the Obama Administration. For these reasons, I strongly urge a No on H.R. 3523.

See first statement and video here

See Cyber Week info page here

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Media Contact: Adam Comis at (202) 225-9978