Politics & Policy

Mike Lee: Cyber Bill Lets Companies Violate User Agreements


A Senate-passed cybersecurity bill allows companies to violate the user agreements they formed with consumers, according to Senator Mike Lee (R., Utah).

The tea-party senator voted against the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, which passed 74–21. “This bill was a compromise between the Intelligence community and the Chamber of Commerce,” Lee said Wednesday. “The bill allows companies to share information with the government even if they promise their customers in their user agreements that they would not, and the users can’t sue.”

CISA is a bipartisan response to the recent string of cybersecurity breaches, touted by Senate Republicans and the White House alike. But it has also alarmed privacy hawks, and the broad-based support hasn’t prevented intraparty tensions increasing on both sides of the aisle.

“CISA aims to set up a system by which companies can legally share bulk data with DHS, which would in turn parse out information to other agencies as deemed necessary,” according to Apple Insider. “Firms participating in the program would not be subject to Freedom of Information Act requests or regulatory oversight related to data sharing activities.”

#share#A series of amendments to remove the FOIA exemptions and tighten the provisions pertaining to the personal information released as part of the bulk data failed on the Senate floor, to the frustration of their backers. Senator Dean Heller (R., Nev.) saw his amendment go down on  a 47–49 vote, prompting an attack on the four Republicans who missed the vote — with particular ire directed at Kentucky’s Rand Paul. 

“While I’m fighting for personal liberties on the SenateFloor, too many presidential/gubernatorial candidates are off campaigning,” Heller, a Jeb Bush supporter, wrote in a pair of tweets. “[Paul] would’ve done a better job for the people of [Nevada] by voting here on #privacy issues instead of skipping votes to be on @VegasPBS.”

Now that it has passed the Senate, CISA must be reconciled with two House-passed bills before it can go to the president’s desk.

— Joel Gehrke is a political reporter for National Review Online.


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