National Consumers League

NCL calls on Senate to oppose Cyber Information Sharing Act

October 22, 2015

Privacy and consumer advocates say CISA is not the answer to cybercrime

Contact: Cindy Hoang, National Consumers League, cindyh@nclnet.org or (202) 207-2832

Washington, DC—Calling it “the wrong solution to the problem of cybercrime,” the National Consumers League (NCL), today joined six other privacy and consumer advocacy organizations to urge the Senate to reject the Cyber Information Sharing Act (CISA). In a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), the groups called the bill “fatally flawed,” and urged Senators to oppose the bill unless it is significantly improved through the amendment process.

CISA, which is currently pending before the full Senate, would significantly expand the ability of intelligence agencies such as the National Security Agency to collect information about American citizens in the name of improving cybersecurity. Advocates at NCL believe that there are significantly better ways to improve consumers data security protections, including a comprehensive national data security standard and a strong national data breach notification law.

“CISA seeks to combat a real problem: the continuous and serious incidence of data breaches that raise the risk of identity theft and other fraud for millions of consumers,” said John Breyault, NCL vice president of public policy, telecommunications and fraud. “Unfortunately, in CISA’s case, the cure is worse than the disease. The bill, as proposed, would allow for even greater collection of consumers’ personal data without adequate safeguards against abuse by intelligence and law enforcement agencies.”

The letter cited an amendment offered by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) as one way to address advocates’ concerns. That amendment (#2621) would require, to the extent feasible, that all entities remove personally identifiable information not necessary to describe or identify a cybersecurity threat before sharing cybersecurity threat information under the bill.

In addition to NCL, organizations represented in the letter included the Center for Democracy & Technology, the Center for Digital Democracy, Consumer Action, the Consumer Federation of America, Consumer Watchdog, and Privacy Rights Clearinghouse. The full text of the letter is available here.

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About the National Consumers League

The National Consumers League, founded in 1899, is America's pioneer consumer organization. Our mission is to protect and promote social and economic justice for consumers and workers in the United States and abroad. For more information, visit www.nclnet.org.