The US Congress is going to great efforts to ensure that its Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) bill is passed into law by including it in an ‘omnibus’ bill – combining it with a number of other legislations that deal with Federal funding – that few Senators would dare object to, according to Wired. Any ‘nay’ vote or Presidential veto of the bill would risk undermining the entire federal government’s budget.
House Speaker Paul Ryan announced the new ‘omnibus’ bill in a late-night Congress session on Tuesday, in a move that will not only come close to guaranteeing that a revised CISA will pass but will also stifle any potential debate on the worrying additions that have been made to it in the interim since it was passed by the Senate by 74 votes to 21.
CISA gives Federal agencies the power to force companies to share user and customer data “notwithstanding any other provision of law,” or, in other words, without a warrant. The new revisions have removed the few legal safeguards that were in place, now allowing the FBI and the Director of National Intelligence to view materials through “portals,” independent of the Department of Homeland Security.
“They’re kind of pulling a Patriot Act,” Robyn Greene, policy counsel for the Open Technology Institute, said. “They’ve got this bill that’s kicked around for years and had been too controversial to pass, so they’ve seen an opportunity to push it through without debate. And they’re taking that opportunity.”