Ignor­ing a veto threat from Pres­i­dent Barack Oba­ma, the U.S. House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives vot­ed today to pass Repub­li­can Con­gress­man Mike Rogers’ Cyber Intel­li­gence Shar­ing and Pro­tec­tion Act, bet­ter known as CISPA, for the sec­ond year in a row. The vote on final pas­sage, which hap­pened this morn­ing, was two hun­dred and eighty-eight to one hun­dred and twenty-eight.

Osten­si­bly, CISPA is intend­ed to help bol­ster Inter­net secu­ri­ty in the Unit­ed States and make it eas­i­er for the U.S. gov­ern­ment and major cor­po­ra­tions to share infor­ma­tion about cyber threats. In real­i­ty, CISPA is a threat to our dig­i­tal free­dom and civ­il lib­er­ties, and gives the gov­ern­ment more spy­ing powers.

CISPA did not make it out of the U.S. Sen­ate after pass­ing the House last year, which is why it was rein­tro­duced in the House this year. The 2013 incar­na­tion of the bill has fol­lowed a sim­i­lar tra­jec­to­ry to the 2012 incar­na­tion. It was shep­herd­ed through com­mit­tee by Mike Rogers, amend­ed slight­ly, and then approved on the House floor despite a veto threat from the White House.

The vote for and against the bill was bipar­ti­san, but most no votes came from Democ­rats and most yes votes came from Republicans.

The roll call for the Pacif­ic North­west was as follows:

Vot­ing Aye: Democ­rats Adam Smith, Rick Larsen, Derek Kilmer, Den­ny Heck (WA), Kurt Schrad­er (OR); Repub­li­cans Doc Hast­ings, Cathy McMor­ris-Rodgers, Dave Reichert (WA), Greg Walden (OR), Mike Simp­son (ID), Don Young (AK), Steve Daines (MT)

Vot­ing Nay: Democ­rats Suzan Del­Bene, Jim McDer­mott (WA), Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Pete DeFazio, Earl Blu­me­nauer (OR); Repub­li­cans Jaime Her­rera-Beut­ler (WA) and Raúl Labrador (ID)

Two days ago, we asked our region’s U.S. Rep­re­sen­ta­tives to vote against this lat­est incar­na­tion of CISPA. Most did not, but we are very grate­ful to those who did, par­tic­u­lar­ly Suzan Del­Bene, who rep­re­sents NPI’s home district.

Del­Bene said in a state­ment sent to NPI short­ly after the vote that CISPA 2013 was sim­ply too flawed to earn her support.

“While I sup­port the goals of this leg­is­la­tion, the CISPA bill vot­ed on by the House today unfor­tu­nate­ly does not offer nec­es­sary pro­tec­tions to safe­guard Amer­i­cans’ pri­va­cy and con­sti­tu­tion­al rights,” she said.

“I com­mend the good faith, bipar­ti­san effort by my col­leagues to draft effec­tive leg­is­la­tion, but today’s bill still falls short. While the bill vot­ed on today is an improve­ment from last year’s ver­sion, it ulti­mate­ly fails to ade­quate­ly pro­tect civ­il lib­er­ties. It grants immu­ni­ty to cor­po­ra­tions that don’t pro­tect the per­son­al infor­ma­tion of cus­tomers that they freely share with the fed­er­al government.”

“This bill doesn’t do enough to pre­vent per­son­al­ly iden­ti­fi­able infor­ma­tion or the pri­vate com­mu­ni­ca­tions of indi­vid­u­als from being col­lect­ed by fed­er­al agen­cies. This is incon­sis­tent with our nation’s val­ues regard­ing indi­vid­ual privacy.”

We strong­ly con­cur and we thank Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Del­Bene as well as Rep­re­sen­ta­tive McDer­mott for cast­ing an informed and coura­geous vote. We also extend our thanks to Repub­li­cans Jaime Her­rera Beut­ler and Raúl Labrador for their no votes. They were the only Repub­li­cans from our region to vote no.

Three of Ore­gon’s four Democ­rats also vot­ed no.

We are very dis­ap­point­ed in our region’s oth­er Democ­rats for their aye votes. CISPA is fatal­ly flawed leg­is­la­tion that lacks robust pri­va­cy and civ­il lib­er­ties safe­guards. It is not well draft­ed. That is why we are strong­ly opposed to it and it is why Pres­i­dent Oba­ma has threat­ened a veto, both last year and this year.

Adam Smith, Rick Larsen, Den­ny Heck, and Derek Kilmer should have fol­lowed the lead of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Del­Bene and McDer­mott and vot­ed no on CISPA 2013.

We will be in con­tact with each of them to express our dis­ap­point­ment in their votes over the next few days. We now urge our region’s U.S. Sen­a­tors, espe­cial­ly Maria Cantwell, Pat­ty Mur­ray, Ron Wyden, and Jeff Merkley, to put a stop to CISPA in the U.S. Sen­ate so this poor­ly writ­ten leg­is­la­tion nev­er gets out of Congress.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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2 replies on “U.S. House endangers digital freedom by passing CISPA for the second year in a row”

  1. I believe Sen­a­tor Cantwell is vot­ing against CISPA. Would you like to see her email to me?

    Sen­a­tor Mur­ray’s office said no pub­lic com­ment made yet.

    Have peo­ple call her!!


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