27 April 2012

I'm Cynical as to the Motives Here

So, after expressing concerns about the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), the White House has now threatened a veto:
The White House has said that the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), currently before the US House of Representatives, lacks enough privacy protections in its current form and will probably be vetoed if passed.

A statement from the White House Office of Management and Budget said that, while the importance of protecting the national infrastructure from online attacks is paramount, it "strongly opposes" the bill because it lacks proper oversight, could seriously damage individuals' privacy and hands over responsibility for domestic cybersecurity to the NSA, rather than to a civilian body.

"Legislation should address core critical infrastructure vulnerabilities without sacrificing the fundamental values of privacy and civil liberties for our citizens, especially at a time our Nation is facing challenges to our economic well-being and national security," the statement reads.

"The Administration looks forward to continuing to engage with the Congress in a bipartisan, bicameral fashion to enact cybersecurity legislation to address these critical issues. However, for the reasons stated herein, if H.R. 3523 were presented to the President, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill."
Yea! The White House is standing up for privacy.

Or maybe not:
"The Administration strongly opposes H.R. 3523, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, in its current form," the White House said in a statement released Wednesday afternoon. "H.R. 3523 fails to provide authorities to ensure that the nation's core critical infrastructure is protected while repealing important provisions of electronic surveillance law without instituting corresponding privacy, confidentiality, and civil liberties safeguards."

CISPA’s sponsors, House Intelligence Chairman Mike Rogers, R-Mich., and ranking member Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Md., dismissed the White House statement.

“The basis for the administration's view is mostly based on the lack of critical infrastructure regulation, something outside of our jurisdiction,” the pair said in a statement released during the House Rules hearing. In addition, the sponsors pointed out that the White House objects to the bill’s current form, which doesn’t contain the latest changes hammered out with civil liberties groups.
(emphasis mine)

Maybe I'm a bit of a cynic, but I'm thinking that their objection is that it does not grant enough power.

If we look at the Obama administration's prior behavior, their concerns for civil liberties or transparency have always taken a back seat to expanding executive power. (Basically Dick Cheney with abortion support)

Also, as PC Magazine notes, the Obasa administration made exactly the same sort of statements about the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), which allows for indefinite detention of American citizens, but decided to sign it anyway.

In any case, the House just called what is likely his bluff, and they passed CISPA and sent it to the Senate.

I'm not optimistic.

White House Statement after break:



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