Leg­is­la­tion mak­ing its way through the U.S. House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives that could fur­ther erode our civ­il lib­er­ties would be vetoed by Pres­i­dent Oba­ma were it to reach his desk in its cur­rent form, the White House said today.

In a for­mal state­ment of admin­is­tra­tion pol­i­cy on H.R. 624, more com­mon­ly known as the Cyber Intel­li­gence Shar­ing and Pro­tec­tion Act, or CISPA, the Office of Man­age­ment and Bud­get out­lined what Pres­i­dent Oba­ma wants to see in a cyber­se­cu­ri­ty bill from Con­gress and char­ac­ter­ized the cur­rent ver­sion in the House — backed by Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Mike Rogers — as unacceptable.

The Admin­is­tra­tion rec­og­nizes and appre­ci­ates that the House Per­ma­nent Select Com­mit­tee on Intel­li­gence (HPSCI) adopt­ed sev­er­al amend­ments to H.R. 624 in an effort to incor­po­rate the Admin­is­tra­tion’s impor­tant sub­stan­tive con­cerns. How­ev­er, the Admin­is­tra­tion still seeks addi­tion­al improve­ments and if the bill, as cur­rent­ly craft­ed, were pre­sent­ed to the Pres­i­dent, his senior advi­sors would rec­om­mend that he veto the bill. The Admin­is­tra­tion seeks to build upon the con­tin­u­ing dia­logue with the HPSCI and stands ready to work with mem­bers of Con­gress to incor­po­rate our core pri­or­i­ties to pro­duce cyber­se­cu­ri­ty infor­ma­tion shar­ing leg­is­la­tion that address­es these crit­i­cal issues.

Empha­sis is theirs.

Pri­or to today’s veto threat, the House had been mov­ing towards a vote on this lat­est incar­na­tion of CISPA, so the state­ment sent out less than a cou­ple hours ago is very time­ly and wel­come. Our allies in the Inter­net Defense League have been work­ing hard to stop CISPA in its tracks; the ACLU even cre­at­ed a peti­tion ask­ing the White House to do just what it did today.

CISPA is fatal­ly flawed leg­is­la­tion. Democ­rats like Adam Schiff and Jan Schakowsky tried to fix some of the bil­l’s most trou­ble­some pro­vi­sions in com­mit­tee but their amend­ments were reject­ed. The amend­ments to the bill that were adopt­ed amount to lit­tle more than win­dow dress­ing. They don’t fix the bil­l’s problems.

If you haven’t heard of CISPA before (or have heard it men­tioned in the news but aren’t famil­iar with its dan­ger­ous pro­vi­sions), the Elec­tron­ic Fron­tier Foun­da­tion has a good run­down of it that you ought to read.

It was pro­posed in the last Con­gress and even passed the Repub­li­can-con­trolled House, but it did­n’t make it out of the Senate.

We urge all read­ers and sup­port­ers to join in the cam­paign to defeat CISPA, and we ask all of our rep­re­sen­ta­tives — Suzan Del­Bene, Rick Larsen, Jaime Her­rera-Beut­ler, Doc Hast­ings, Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers, Derek Kilmer, Jim McDer­mott, Dave Reichert, Adam Smith, Den­ny Heck, Suzanne Bonam­i­ci, Greg Walden, Earl Blu­me­nauer, Pete DeFazio, Kurt Schrad­er, Raúl Labrador and Mike Simp­son — to vote against CISPA if it comes up for a vote in the House.

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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