By Brandon Moseley
Alabama Political Reporter
On Thursday Congresswoman Terri A. Sewell (D) from Selma released a written statement following her vote in favor of H.R. 624, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) which passed in the U.S. House of Representatives by a vote of 288-127.
Representative Sewell wrote, “Every day, our computer networks in both the public and private sector face an increasing number of cyber attacks from foreign agents, criminal hackers and terrorist organizations. In order to keep our nation safe, it is necessary that we take proactive steps to ensure that we have the safeguards in place to combat these cyber threats. I voted for the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act today because I believe this bill provides a solid framework for addressing serious threats to our national and economic security while providing privacy protections to ensure our civil liberties.”
Rep. Sewell continued, “As a newly appointed member of the Intelligence Committee, I worked closely with Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-MI) and Ranking Member Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD) on this legislation. I also worked with my Republican and Democratic colleagues on the committee and within the House to craft a bill that serves as an important first step in addressing these critical issues. I am also pleased that my amendment to prevent improper government use of data was included in the bill.”
Congresswoman Sewell concluded, “While not a perfect bill, I am hopeful that the Senate will draft a measure that makes this bill even stronger. And as we move forward, we must continue to work together to strengthen privacy protections and find a balance between preserving privacy and protecting the security of our country from the danger of cyber attacks. I remain committed to working with the Senate and the Administration to find a workable solution to ensure our national security.”
The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) will allow corporations to search through personal and sensitive user data of ordinary U.S. residents to identify “threat information,” which will then be shared with other opt-in firms and the U.S. government. Some civil liberties activists complain that doing this without a court ordered search warrant essentially allows a company like Facebook, Twitter, Google, or your cell service provider to legally hand over information about you and other customers to the U.S. government and federal law enforcement without being subject to lawsuits.
CISPA’s advocates argue that it is vitally important to U.S. national security that government and the corporate world be able to share information quickly so that the data can be used in real time to stop cyberattacks and give the government the tools to trace cyberattacks back to their source. Supporters argue that cyberattacks against U.S. networks are weapons that the government needs tools to fight against in the virtual battlefield.
The Bill also amends the National Security Act to allow U.S. intelligence agencies to share classified information to individuals and corporation that do not have security clearance in order to help companies fight back against and prevent cyberattacks on their systems in the future.
Congresswoman Terri A Sewell represents Alabama’s Seventh Congressional District.