NSA Head: We Need CISPA

October 9, 2013 - GamePolitics Staff

The battle over the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) is far from over and lawmakers and leaders in the government's various security agencies are pushing hard to get legislation in the Senate passed. Earlier this year the House of Representatives passed CISPA with the hopes of the Senate putting together a bill of its own. At the time the Senate let that hot potato cool by saying that it had no plans to pursue such legislation. But as we near the close of 2013, lawmakers in the Senate have been secretly crafting a bill that is as close to CISPA as you can get, and its authors think it will pass.

But to convince fellow lawmakers, the government is rolling out the heavyweights to sound the alarm bells about an impending and disastrous cyber attack. In their minds, if CISPA isn't passed then the U.S. could face a cyber Armageddon of some sort.

One of the loudest voices in favor of CISPA is General Keith Alexander, director of the National Security Agency and head of U.S. Cyber Command. Alexander said today that, in order to protect American interests from cyber attacks, the NSA needs the cooperation and trust of the public and the private sector. Alexander made his comments during a speech at the Telecommunications Industry Association’s annual conference. In his speech he defended the NSA's vast surveillance programs and said that much of the reporting based on documents leaked by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden were inaccurate.

Alexander told attendees that the debate surrounding the NSA surveillance programs is holding up the discussion about new cybersecurity legislation. Policymakers believe it is essential that corporations and government agencies should share data freely and corporations should have immunity from lawsuits. These two things are at the core of CISPA.

Civil liberties and privacy groups against the NSA's surveillance programs have also opposed the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), because it does not place enough limits on the type of personal information businesses could share with the U.S. government.

The House passed CISPA in April, but the bill has stalled in the Senate. Obviously the Senate is working on a bill with many of the same provisions found in the House bill. We expect to hear more about the details of this bill in the weeks and months ahead.


Re: NSA Head: We Need CISPA

I second Craig - Thipp nailed it. 

CISPA is horrible law. On top of that, corporations need immunity? Really? For sharing my private information without a warrant? You want to look at my medical records or finances or search history? Fine. I'm cool with that - when you have a member of the judiciary review your probable cause affidavit and grant you a search warrant.

ALso: Can we stop calling it "cyber-?" It brings up uncomfortable memories of mIRC when I was a teenager.

Re: NSA Head: We Need CISPA

This all sounds kind of familiar. Ah, yes:

"In their minds, if PATRIOT Act isn't passed then the U.S. could face a terrorist Armageddon of some sort."

Thipp is dead on. This is NSA trying to cover up their abuses with a power grab to commit even MORE abuses.

Re: NSA Head: We Need CISPA

I was always opposed to CISPA anyway but at this point pretty much anything the NSA says it needs I would have to be opposed to out of principle because the last thing we need is more power in the hands of those who can already do whatever they want. 

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