CEI Urges Members to Vote No on CISPA

Washington, D.C., April 26, 2012 — Tomorrow, the House of Representatives is expected to vote on final passage of H.R. 3523, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act of 2011 (CISPA). The Competitive Enterprise Institute, a free market think tank, urges Members of the House of Representatives to vote “No” on passage of CISPA.

CEI recently issued a joint letter with a coalition of conservative, libertarian, and free market groups in which we recommended seven critical changes to CISPA. While numerous amendments submitted by Members would have addressed many of our concerns, the House Rules Committee ruled most of these crucial amendments out of order. As such, Members will have no opportunity to vote on important amendments to CISPA. Of the seven major concerns we identified in our coalition letter to Congress, only two of the concerns are reflected in CISPA amendments.

While CEI applauds the amendments that address our coalition’s concerns about limiting governmental use of cyber threat information and carefully defining the scope of information that may be shared, fundamental problems with CISPA remain. Despite amendments adopted by the House of Representatives, CISPA would:

• Undermine the rule of law by rendering unenforceable voluntary contracts between private parties that limit how cloud computing providers may share and use information held on behalf of business and individual customers;

• Discourage reasonable, prudent information sharing by conferring blanket immunity on all private entities that share information they believe to pertain to a cyber threat, even if they have not taken any reasonable steps prior to sharing information to ensure that it pertains to an actual cyber threat;

• Permit governmental agencies to strong-arm companies into sharing information by leveraging the public procurement process;

• Allow for the grossly negligent mishandling of private information by governmental entities, without providing any recourse whatsoever to business and individuals harmed by such mishandling.