Thompson Floor Statement Opposing CISPA Rule
(WASHINGTON) – Today, Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), Ranking Member of the Committee on Homeland Security, delivered the following statement (with video) on the House Floor for consideration of H. Res. 631, the Rule providing consideration for H.R. 3523, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA):
I rise in opposition to this Rule and the underlying bill. At the beginning of this Congress, expectations were high for meaningful progress on cybersecurity. Speaker Boehner even established a task force, within the Republican Conference, to come up with recommendations. But a funny thing happened on the way to Cybersecurity Week – key Republican task force recommendations were abandoned.
They abandoned measures to:
- improve data breach notification laws,
- formalize DHS' cyber role, and
- most importantly, enhance the cybersecurity of critical infrastructure networks.
These omissions from Cybersecurity Week are no small matter. We all have critical infrastructure in our districts- be it a pipeline, a power plant, an airport, or even a dam. Top national security officials – both in the Obama and Bush Administrations – have briefed us on the significant cyber risks to critical infrastructure. They have told us that voluntary information sharing is simply not enough. In fact, the CSIS Cyber Commission, the Republican Task Force, and NSA Director Alexander have all said that Congress must do something to proactively address critical infrastructure vulnerabilities.
But House Leadership ignored those voices. Instead, it has decided that information sharing alone is enough to fix the problem. Mr. Speaker, this boils down to a simple question - who do you trust? Turning to H.R. 3523, what does it do? In an effort to improve our cybersecurity, this bill would erode the privacy protections of every single American using the Internet. Put simply: this bill would allow any certified business to share with any government agency, who can then use the information for any national security purpose, and grant that business immunity from virtually any liability.
None of the amendments authored by the Intelligence Committee would change this truth. Further, the Rules Committee decided to block consideration of amendments submitted by me and other like-minded colleagues to address the fundamental privacy flaws in this bill.
If my colleagues want to do something on cybersecurity, then vote 'Yes' on any or all of the suspension bills to be considered today. But do not vote for H.R. 3523. It would set back the privacy rights that our constituents have enjoyed since the beginning of the Internet. Again, I urge my colleagues to vote 'No' on the Rule and the underlying bill.
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Media Contact: Adam Comis at (202) 225-9978