House passes another flawed cyber sharing plan

Washington, DC – The House of Representatives has passed its second cybersurveillance law in as many days, H.R. 1731, the National Cybersecurity Protection Advancement Act (NCPA). The vote followed House passage yesterday of the Protecting Cyber Networks Act (PCNA). While the NCPA passed with some privacy amendments, both bills grant companies immunity for undermining user privacy.

“The NCPA will do little if anything to secure the internet. Masquerading as cybersecurity, this bill is a giveaway to ensure that companies are legally protected when they undermine users’ privacy rights,” said Nathan White, Senior Legislative Manager at Access. “Rather than addressing real cyber security needs, the House’s strategy looks more like cyber security theater.”

The NCPA will now be combined with the PCNA and sent to conference committee with the Senate. The final bill will have to be re-approved by both chambers.

Experts have questioned how these bills would prevent cybersecurity incidents, and members of Congress have been unable to provide a clear answer. The Congressional Research Service’s report on both bills reminds Members of Congress that, “sharing may be relatively unimportant for many organizations, especially in comparison with other cybersecurity needs.”

“Congress is operating in reverse. Rather than passing something simply because it includes the term ‘cyber,’ Members should be working to get these bills right,” said Drew Mitnick, Policy Counsel at Access.

Access and partners have called on President Obama to veto the cyber sharing bills. The president previously issued a veto threat to similar legislation due to many of the same issues. Users can sign a petition at StopCyberSpying.com calling on President Obama to veto privacy invasive cyber legislation. The website also provides in-depth analysis of the proposals.