Psh, Obama’s not going to veto CISPA, says bill co-sponsor

CISPA sponsor Rogers: Obama will back down on veto

Call it wishful thinking or a sage prediction: Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) co-sponsor Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI) believes President Obama will sign the controversial cybersecurity legislation — if it ever gets to his desk — despite the fact that his office threatened a veto.

“I think if we can get a bill on information-sharing to the president’s desk, he’ll sign it. I do believe that,” said Rogers during a panel discussion hosted by The Week magazine.

During pre-debate of CISPA in Congress, the White House issued a statement saying that it would not sign any cybersecurity bill that failed to protect critical infrastructure networks (like electrical grids, water systems, or air traffic control systems), and lacked privacy safeguards for citizens. CISPA provides neither — though the last part is technically up for debate.

What is CISPA, again?

CISPA, which passed the House in April, gives business the ability to share information — including private information about users — with the Federal government with near-blanket immunity. As long as any of the information shared can be used for “cybersecurity” or “national security” purposes, companies cannot be sued or tried under criminal law for disclosing customer information. The government would also be able to more easily share classified information with the private sector. Though improvements were made before it passed the House, CISPA remains problematic for privacy and civil liberty advocates.

Ye shall not pass

At the moment, however, it doesn’t appear as though CISPA or any of the cybersecurity legislation currently before the Senate will find its way to the president anytime soon. Last week, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT), the lead sponsor of the Cybersecurity Act of 2012 — also known as CSA, it’s an expansive cybersecurity bill that includes similar, troublesome language as CISPA, and has support of both Obama and Democrats in the Senate — said the Senate must vote on CSA or its predecessor before July, or it will get lost in the Senate’s busy summer schedule, which is weighed down by more-pressing, appropriation legislation.

…or something

That said, Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) and Jon Kyl (R-AZ) are currently working to rectify bi-partisan disagreement surrounding the critical infrastructure safeguards portion of CSA and a competing bill, SECURE IT, which is Republican-backed. In CSA, the Department of Homeland Security would serve as a regulatory body tasked with making sure companies that control critical infrastructure networks meet certain security benchmarks. In SECURE IT, those benchmarks are voluntary — meaning no further “big government regulation” — though there are incentives in place for businesses that put the prescribed security measures in place. According to The Hill, the Whitehouse-Kyl compromise will likely lack any further regulation, which is likely necessary in order for the Republican-led House to pass the bill.

Read more about CSA and SECURE IT here.

Veto shmeto

As far as Obama’ veto threat goes, well, the signs aren’t exactly good. A month after the threat was issued, Obama’s cybersecurity head, Howard Schmidt — a known CISPA critic — retired, possibly putting the White House’s official stance on the matter in flux. Furthermore, Obama isn’t exactly known for sticking tightly to his guns on vetoes; the president originally threatened to strike down the highly controversial National Defense Authorization Act, an annual defense appropriations bill, which contained a provision that allows the indefinite detention of American citizens held under suspicion of terrorism. He ultimately signed the bill. Still, Obama did try to tourniquet the political wound by issuing an executive order guaranteeing that his administration would not make use of the provision. And in March, a federal judge issued a historic injunction against the provision, saying that it was unconstitutional and would stifle free speech.

Last word

Not today, maybe not tomorrow, but someday soon, Congress will pass cybersecurity legislation. That legislation will contain provisions that impede upon our privacy and possibly our civil liberties. Furthermore, chances are good that Obama will sign whatever Congress passes. We are, after all, at cyberwar — a war that we appear to have started, mind you, with the release of Stuxnet, and now Flame — the world’s “most sophisticated cyber-weapon.” (Yeah, that was created by the U.S. and Israel to combat Iran, too, just like Stuxnet, according to a report out today from the Washington Post.) This is one of the first times in modern history that America’s “borders” are not firmly protected from foreign government intrusion. By Washington’s count, that’s bad policy and bad politics. As the great political philosopher The Dude once said, “This aggression will not stand, man.”

Emerging Tech

Death from above? How we’re preparing for a future filled with weaponized drones

Drones are beginning to enable everything from search & rescue, to the delivery of medicines to hard-to-reach places. But they are also being used as cheap, and deadly flying bombs. How can we defend ourselves?
Movies & TV

'Prime'-time TV: Here are the best shows on Amazon Prime right now

There's more to Amazon Prime than free two-day shipping, including access to a number of phenomenal shows at no extra cost. To make the sifting easier, here are our favorite shows currently streaming on Amazon Prime.
Home Theater

The best movies on Netflix in October, from 'The Witch’ to ‘Black Panther’

Save yourself from hours wasted scrolling through Netflix's massive library by checking out our picks for the streamer's best movies available right now, whether you're into explosive action, subdued humor, or anything in between.
Movies & TV

The best shows on Netflix, from 'The Haunting of Hill House’ to ‘The Good Place’

Looking for a new show to binge? Lucky for you, we've curated a list of the best shows on Netflix, whether you're a fan of outlandish anime, dramatic period pieces, or shows that leave you questioning what lies beyond.

Here's how to download a YouTube video to watch offline later

Learning how to download YouTube videos is easier than you might think. There are plenty of great tools you can use, both online and offline. These are our favorites and a step by step guide on how to use them.

Carbuying can be exhausting: Here are the best used car websites to make it easier

Shopping for a used car isn't easy, especially when the salesman is looking to make a quick sale. Thankfully, there are plenty of sites aimed at the prospective buyer, whether you're looking for a sedan or a newfangled hybrid.

Your ‘Do Not Track’ tool might be helping websites track you, study says

New research from the "Do Not Track" features embedded in popular browsers are being ignored, opening up the possibility of consumers having their information targeted by specific ads based on their web histories and cookies. 

How to recover Google contacts

If you accidentally deleted an important person from your Google Contacts, they might not be lost forever. Recovering them is a fairly easy process -- as long as you do it quickly. Here's how.

Afraid that Bitcoin could be a bubble? Here's how to sell what you've got

If you're investing in cryptocurrencies, it's important to have your exit strategy in place if prices start to crash. If you've decided it's time to get out or just want to learn how to sell Bitcoins, here's how to get started.

Don't take your ISP's word for it: Here's how to test your internet speed

If you're worried that you aren't getting the most from your internet package, speed tests are a great way to find out what your real connection is capable of. Here are the best internet speed tests available today.

Feed your fandom: These are the best YouTube channels for sports lovers

If you're a cable cutter who still wants to enjoy quality sports highlights and analysis, YouTube is the place to go. There are plenty of great sports-centric channels on YouTube, each of which provides great highlights and top-shelf…
Social Media

YouTube is back after crashing for users around the world

It's rare to see YouTube suffer serious issues, but the site went down around the world for a period of time on October 16. It's back now, and we can confirm it's loading normally on desktop and mobile.

Chrome 70 is now available and won’t automatically log you in to the browser

Google has officially launched Chrome version 70 on Windows Mac and Linux. The update introduces some new Progressive Web App integrations on Windows 10 and also tweaks the much controversial auto login with Google Account feature.
Smart Home

Here’s everything you need to know about Amazon Prime Pantry

The marvels of the Internet have made it possible to do all your shopping from the comfort of your living room. Amazon Prime Pantry allows you to buy groceries and household items online. Here's more info about the service.