Video: Schiff Explains 'No' Vote on Controversial Cybersecurity Bill

U.S. Congress will soon vote on the Cybersecurity Information Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA).

Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Burbank) said on Thursday, prior to a vote on a controversial cybersecurity bill, he would not support the legislation, known as the Cybersecurity Information Sharing and Protection Act.

The Obama administration, Civil liberties groups and Internet users have voiced concerns over CISPA, which is meant to help thwart hackers and prevent cyber attacks  . A Business Insider article describes the opposition this way: "there are those who believe private companies and the government will use the vague definition of "cybersecurity" to obtain personal information they don't need."

According to his press release, Schiff attepted to introduce an amendment that would address some of these concerns, but it was "ruled out of order."

The House passed the bill Thursday by a 248-168 vote, according to a CBS News story.  

Schiff, who represents Altadena, had the following message about the bill:

“I rise in reluctant opposition to the bill but I want to acknowledge the extraordinary work done by Mike Rogers and our Ranking Member, Dutch Ruppersberger. These two gentlemen have changed the nature and culture of our Committee, made it far more productive and have done great work getting us to this great point. There is still work to be done, and I want to talk about that.

“In two areas – I want to acknowledge why we are here. We do ourselves a disservice when we talk about a cyber threat. That sounds like something that may come in the future, something to be concerned about that might take place down the line. We are under cyberattack right now. This is not speculative, this is not intangible. This is happening right now, so this needs to be dealt with and we do need a sense of urgency. But there is distance yet to go, and in two areas in particular.

“One, when we gather cyber information and we share it between companies or between the government and companies as we must do, we want to make sure we minimize any unnecessary invasion of privacy of the American people. And we can do both and we have to do both. We need to protect ourselves from cyber attack and we need to protect the privacy rights of the American people.

“I think the bill needs a requirement that personally identifiable information be minimized to the maximum extent practical. We are not asking the federal government or the private sector to do the impossible but ask they minimize personal information that is protected against cybercrime.

“The second thing that needs to be incorporated in this bill that my colleague, Mr. Thompson, will talk about as well is the need to protect critical infrastructure. That is a big missing piece in the bill and I understand from my colleagues, that's not within the Intelligence Committee jurisdiction. That's correct, but as we saw from the Rules Committee, they are more than capable of incorporating things for more than one committee's jurisdiction in the rule as we see in a rule that incorporates student loan interests in a bill and that's subject with a bill on cybersecurity. So there's nothing preventing the Rules Committee from bringing into the discussion today and allow amendments on critical infrastructure. 

“The absence of those two big pieces makes it impossible for me to support the bill today but I look forward to working with both parties.

“I want to conclude by saying I look forward to our continued work on this bill. I appreciate the great cooperation between the Chair and Ranking Member and respect all members of the Committee and I yield back.”


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