Washington, D.C. – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi took to the House floor today in opposition to the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act’s (CISPA) lack of a crucial balance between security and liberty. Below are the Leader’s remarks:
“Thank you very much Mr. Speaker. Today, the internet and new technologies are shaping the world that we could scarcely have imagined ten years ago, giving Americans an easy way to build friendships, conduct business, and participate in democracy – all with the click of a button. But because so much of our daily lives are invested in cyber space, it only takes one more click to put our personal identities, our economic stability, and our national security at risk. The threat of a cyber-attack on our country is real, and our response must always balance our security with our liberties. That has always been the case in the history of America, the balance between liberty and security.
“There can be absolutely no doubt or delay in shoring up our nation’s cybersecurity. We must take clear, responsible, effective action to enhance the security of the American people.
“I want to commend Ranking Member Ruppersberger for his leadership, well, actually Chairman Rogers and Ranking Member Ruppersberger, working together in a bipartisan way for their leadership on this issue and efforts to craft and try to improve this legislation. I want to thank the Chair and Co-Chair, Mr. McCaul and Mr. Thompson, the Chair and Ranking Democratic [Member] on the Homeland Security Committee for their energetic leadership on this subject as well. I thank both committees for recognizing the jurisdiction of the other committee.
“I had hoped that today we would be addressing some major concerns of Members of Congress and the White House by improving the legislations protections for personal information. We are at a place – with all the respect in the world for the work of our Chairs and our Ranking Members on this, and it has been considerable. You have standing on this issue that is recognized and respected. I am disappointed, however, that we did not address some of the concerns, as I mentioned, of the White House about personal information. Unfortunately, it offers no policies, did not allow any amendments – and I don’t put that to you, amendments – and no real solutions that adequately uphold an American’s right to privacy.
“For one thing, in promoting the sharing of cyber threat information, the bill does not require the private sector to minimize irrelevant personally [identifiable] information from what it shares with the government or other private matters. They can just ship the whole kit and caboodle over – we’re saying minimize, what is relevant to our national security. The rest is none of the governments business. The bill continues to offer overly-broad liability protections and immunities to the businesses that violate, that could violate our liberties rather than offering more targeted liabilities to ensure that the private sector only shares appropriate information. We thought there might be a way to get this done by amendment. I’m sure that it would enjoy bipartisan support, but the Rules Committee did not allow that amendment to come forward.
“Most importantly, the bill fails to critically address the greatest weakness in our cyber security: our nation’s infrastructure. Too many of our country’s systems – both physical and virtual – are still exposed to an increasing number of intrusions and attacks. Now, as a longtime former Member of the Intelligence Committee, I know that infrastructure is not your jurisdiction. So, in your original bill you could not go to that place. But now, the Rules Committee could have allowed, with the cooperation of the Homeland Security Committee, us to go into infrastructure.
“If we are truly going to secure a reliable and resilient cyberspace that reflects our country’s values, we must target our clearest vulnerabilities while preserving a space that promotes the innovation, expression, and security of the American people. The world we live in and the threats our country faces can change with just one click. While we should never let Americans doubt our vigilance, our preparation, our effectiveness, we must always never let our compromise, let us compromise their civil liberties. If we fail to meet the standard of security, we always do more harm than good.
“I urge, I myself am personally going to vote ‘no’ on this legislation, but in doing so, salute the Chairs and Ranking Members of the committee for taking us way down the road on this issue. It’s just that crucial balance between security and liberty that I do not think has been struck in that bill. So, for my own part, it will not have my support. Thank you Mr. Chairman, I yield back the balance of my time.”