White House threatens cybersecurity veto
April 16th, 2013
06:10 PM ET

White House threatens cybersecurity veto

By Pam Benson

The White House is threatening to veto a House cybersecurity bill unless changes are made to further safeguard privacy and civil liberties, and limit private-sector liability protections.

Last week, the House Intelligence Committee approved and sent to the full House proposed legislation that would enhance data sharing between the government and private industry to help protect computer networks from cyber attacks.

The committee amended the bill after consulting with the White House during its drafting, but the Obama administration is still not satisfied with some of its provisions.

"The administration still seeks additional improvements and if the bill, as currently crafted, were presented to the president, his senior advisers would recommend that he veto" it, the White House budget office said in a statement on Tuesday.

In particular, the administration wants to require private companies to "take reasonable steps" to remove personal data not relevant to a cyber threat when they share information with the government.

As it stands now, the bill only mandates the government take steps to minimize the collection and retention of personal information such as addresses and e-mail.

The White House also wants the Department of Homeland Security to coordinate information-sharing from industry to government, making clear that a civilian agency would be in charge of the process.

Another point of contention is the extent of liability protection provided to private industry.

The White House supports the efforts to remove legal barriers that could inhibit information sharing by companies, but the OMB statement said, "the law should not immunize a failure to take reasonable measures, such as the sharing of information, to prevent harm when and if the entity knows that such inaction will cause damage or otherwise injure or endanger other entities or individuals."

The full House is expected to debate and vote on the measure this week.

Two Democratic representatives who voted against the committee bill, Adam Schiff of California and Jan Schakowsky of Illinois, plan to introduce amendments that could satisfy the administration's concerns.

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soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. Kevin

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    April 19, 2013 at 10:13 am | Reply
  2. Chuck

    The last thing we need is to have the TSA involved in ANYTHING..... they have shown by their actions they are not capable... let the civilian sector experts and citizens decide what is enough

    April 19, 2013 at 8:06 am | Reply
  3. StanCalif

    Cyber security legislation??? What do politicians know about this subject, very little! But they will write some new laws so they can campaign for re-election promoting their diligence to cyber security! Huge unintended consequences are unknown! Worse yet, to suggest that the Dept. of Homeland Security oversee this problem. What a joke!
    Even private companies (who should be addressing this problem) remain "in the dark" and don't take this seriously!

    April 17, 2013 at 8:00 am | Reply
  4. StanCalif

    Do we really think that politicians are qualified to make laws concerning cyber security? What do they know about this? Even our private industry leaders are still "in the dark"! Anyone consulting with geeks and hackers to learn something?
    Worse yet, get the Dep. of Homeland Security to oversee this problem! All it will do is lease or buy yet another building in DC, staff it with a bunch of people who will spend their work hours surfing the internet!

    April 17, 2013 at 7:43 am | Reply
  5. genold

    Whenever Congress or the White House use code words like; " further safeguard privacy and civil liberties", we have to ask ourselves what this really means, what we will lose in the process, and what sort of regulatory function will we be subjected to. The government is great at taking things away from you; your privacy, your money, your trust: but it never gives you anything in return except a more secure home prison.

    April 17, 2013 at 2:08 am | Reply

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