Privacy Groups Reject Senate Republicans' Tweaks to the SECURE IT Act

June 28, 2012 -

According to a post on The Hill privacy groups remain unimpressed with efforts to draft a revised version of the SECURE IT Act. Senate Republicans released a revised version of their cybersecurity bill on Wednesday, but privacy groups shrugged off the changes as minor.

The new version of the bill attempts to tighten the language of just what "cyber threat information" is, and adds clarification that the government cannot use or retain the information for any other actions beyond the scope of the bill. It would also create new oversight authorities to assess privacy and civil liberty issues. This particular measure is backed by Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.), Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas), Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) and other Republicans.

Michelle Richardson, legislative counsel for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), tells The Hill that the new bill remains "fundamentally flawed" and that these changes do not "get at the central problems in the bill." She points out that the bill still allows the National Security Agency and other agencies to collect information on Americans' Internet use and that those companies are not required to strip out personally identifiable information from the data they turn over to the government.

Gregory Nojeim, senior counsel for the Center for Democracy and Technology, called the changes "only modest improvements" but did acknowledge that tightening the description of the threat information tightening the mandatory information sharing language were positive things.

"To put it gently, though, they left themselves a lot of room for further improvement," he said.

Sharon Bradford Franklin, senior policy counsel for the Constitution Project, welcomes the privacy changes, the bill still contains provisions that continue "to pose serious threats to civil liberties."

Republicans, who are opposed to the Lieberman-Collins bill's provisions that would require critical infrastructure companies to jump through hoops created by the NSA in the name of cybersecurity, mostly ignored the provisions in that bill - the Cybersecurity Act of 2012.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has said he still plans to bring the Lieberman-Collins bill to a vote next month.

Source: The Hill

 
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