Conservative Rock Star Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI 3) Explains Votes Against CISPA!

Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI 3) gave a fantastic explanation on why CISPA is wrong for our country: 

I voted no on H R 624, Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA). This year’s version includes marginal improvements over last year’s bill, which I also opposed, but these changes don’t go far enough to protect people’s private data, and many of the bill’s most significant problems remain unaddressed. Like last year, the bill overrides federal and state privacy laws and contracts. It exempts private entities from all federal and state liability when they share “cyber threat information” with the federal government—a term broadly defined to mean any information “directly pertaining to . . . [a] threat to [] a system or network,” which could include your personally identifiable information, such as e-mails.

Under CISPA, companies are actually *prohibited* from making legally binding commitments to protect users’ personal data and e-mail. Without facing liability, companies have no means of assuring customers or employees that they will follow through on their privacy agreements, which means companies cannot easily compete in the area of user privacy. House leadership killed my bipartisan amendment to fix this problem, denying it a full vote on the House floor. My simple, quarter-page amendment merely asserted that CISPA’s liability exemption did not give companies authority “to breach a contract with another party.” It certainly would have passed unanimously or almost unanimously. By rejecting this amendment, the Committee on Rules voted to void private contracts and undermine the Rule of Law.

The bill also inappropriately allows the government to use the information it receives from private entities for purposes other than cybersecurity, such as protecting individuals generally “from the danger of death or serious bodily harm,” investigating and prosecuting certain crimes, and protecting minors. And the government may search through the information it receives to find specific information pertaining to these items, trampling on our Fourth Amendment right to be secure against unreasonable searches and seizures. Rep. Jared Polis offered an amendment, which I cosponsored, that would have ensured the government could use information shared with it under CISPA *only* to prevent imminent cyber attacks, but again, the Committee on Rules rejected this important change.

Cybersecurity is a real concern for the federal government and many public and private entities. But CISPA goes far beyond what is necessary to ensure the government and the private sector have the information and tools needed to protect against cyber threats. Just a few simple changes (many of which were offered as amendments but rejected by the Committee on Rules) would have made CISPA more protective of your privacy and civil liberties while still reducing legal barriers to timely sharing of actual cyber threat intelligence. House leadership rejected these changes without even permitting a vote on the amendments.

The bill passed 288-127.

We thank Rep. Amash and continue to encourage this great conservative rising star to keep fighting for our civil liberties! 

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