Cory Bennett of The Hill on how surveillance reform could tee up cyber information sharing bill:
Backers of the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) say exchanging more information on hackers will help the public and private sector harden network defenses that have been repeatedly breached over the last year.
A bipartisan group of lawmakers, government officials and most major industry groups are supporting the bill.
But civil liberties groups and several lawmakers believe the offering would simply shuttle more personal data to the National Security agency, further empowering its surveillance program.
The House passed two companion pieces of legislation back in April, but CISA has been mired in the upper chamber, lost amid the heated debate over re-writing the Patriot Act and reforming the NSA programs.
“I don’t think cyber information-sharing legislation is in any way off the table,” said Paul Martino, senior policy counsel at the National Retail Federation, which supports CISA. “I think it is just being held up right now in a traffic jam.”
Senators will try to clear up that traffic jam this weekend as they head back to D.C. for a rare Sunday session.
Most reformers are backing the House-passed USA Freedom Act, which would reign in the NSA’s more controversial surveillance programs.
The USA Freedom Act has plenty of problems of its own, in some cases even extending the capabilities the current Patriot Act section 215 does not offer. Is it the lesser of two evils?