The House on Tuesday voted to approve a bill that would give a new federal government agency sweeping powers to monitor social media, and allow it to censor online news.
House Democrats on Tuesday backed the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA), which would give the Federal Trade Commission, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration, and other agencies broad powers to spy on Americans’ communications.
While the bill would grant the FTC and other government agencies new surveillance powers, it would also give them unprecedented access to social media platforms, allowing them to spy and collect user data from companies, companies’ customers, and individuals.
The bill is opposed by some civil liberties advocates, who say the legislation is unnecessary and will allow the government to abuse its authority to target Americans with little oversight.
“The CISA is a sweeping and unconstitutional federal government surveillance bill that will do far more harm than good, by giving the federal government the power to shut down websites, restrict access to information, and force internet service providers to track and track customers,” said Josh Levy, executive director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
“It will have the chilling effect of giving the government new powers to regulate internet users, and potentially allow the FBI to spy online.
Congress must reject this legislation and ensure that privacy protections are put in place for the American people.”
The bill’s main sponsor, Representative Zoe Lofgren, said the bill will “make it easier for the government and big tech companies to spy,” and will help “make sure that companies can’t be sued for doing things that are really important to us.”
The legislation is supported by several prominent privacy groups, including the American Civil Liberties Union and the Electronic Privacy Information Center.
The legislation was introduced by Lofrens Democrat colleague, Rep. Zoe Lopresti, and was supported by the American Technology Council, which represents big tech firms like Google, Facebook, and Twitter.
Lofgren said that the bill was needed to protect Americans’ privacy, as the internet has become “a tool for online communication.”
“Social media is the ultimate tool for sharing ideas, ideas of how we can improve the world,” she said.
“So we need to protect people’s privacy on this platform.
That is why we need this bill.”
The new bill comes after months of bipartisan debate over CISA, which would have granted the FTC, the CFPB, and the National Security Agency broad surveillance powers.
While CISA did not pass the House, it did advance to the Senate, where Democrats have indicated they will likely support the legislation.
In a statement, CFPBC President Daniel Akerman said that while the bill is needed to prevent terrorism and other threats to our cybersecurity, it should also be used to help fight crime, protect consumers, and fight cyberbullying.
“We believe that it is important that this legislation also allows the Federal Government to collect more data on individuals and organizations online to protect against cyberthreats,” he said.
The CFPBA, however, argued that the legislation was necessary to protect consumers from financial predators and criminal hackers.
“Cybercriminals, hackers, and their cohorts have been able to use the internet to commit fraud and steal identities and data from financial institutions, corporations, and consumers for decades, and we need these tools to protect the consumer,” said the CBA in a statement.
“CISA would allow the Federal government to collect information on individuals who use and use their personal information to commit financial fraud and cyberthreat attacks.”
Akinerman continued, “This legislation would also allow the CFC and the NTA to gather information on financial institutions that use the Internet for payment transactions and fraud prevention.”
The CFTB, meanwhile, argued the bill “would protect consumers and would help protect consumers by preventing fraudulent activity on the internet.””CISA is essential to ensuring that financial institutions are able to keep pace with cyberthreat threats, and to help protect the integrity of our financial system,” said CFTBA Chair Robert Schuman.