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Capitol Hill Update, 20 April, 2015

Capitol Hill Update, 20 April, 2015

House & Senate/Schedule: Both the House and Senate are in town this week through Thursday. The House will next recess for the week of May 4th, while the Senate will remain in town through May 25th.

Legislative Highlight of the Week: The House is going to spend much of this week on a pair of cybersecurity bills that contain major privacy concerns. The two bills are H.R. 1560, the “Protecting Cyber Networks Act” and H.R. 1731, the “National Cybersecurity Protection Advancement Act”. Both bills try to facilitate the sharing of cyber-attack data between private companies and the government and vice-versa.

Unfortunately, neither bill appears to adequately prevent “personally identifiable data” from being among the data shared with the government, and both facilitate the sharing of this data among government agencies – including the NSA. Both bills also allow the governments to use the collected data to investigate crimes beyond just cyber-attacks, which as cybersecurity expert Greg Nojeim said about H.R. 1731 “makes the legislation, intended to be a cybersecurity bill, look much more like a cyber-surveillance bill.”

FreedomWorks has signed onto a coalition letter suggesting reforms to H.R. 1731. If neither bill is substantially revised both should be held as unacceptable by those who value our privacy and civil liberties.

Senate/Nominations: After a number of bitter fights on other pieces of legislation, the Senate may finally have a vote on the nomination of Loretta Lynch for U.S. Attorney General, to replace Eric Holder. Lynch has a number of questionable stances on issues, not the least of which are her use of civil asset forfeiture and her support for government surveillance of U.S. citizens.