Last-minute change to cybersecurity bill may extend secrecy to government analyses

State and local governments would not be able to disclose to the public analysis and concerns related to cybersecurity under a proposed agreement on cybersecurity legislation reportedly being pushed by the House and Senate intelligence committees. A two-word change would mean state and local governments would have to keep secret information the governments generate themselves, adding to a secrecy provision already in the legislation that already requires governments to shield from disclosure information shared by the private sector. SGI sent a letter on December 15, 2015 objecting to the change.

SGI letter on cybersecurity disclosure exemption

[Note: PDF version]   December 15, 2015 The media associations in the Sunshine in Government Initiative oppose a reported change to cybersecurity legislation that would effectively prevent access to any analysis or assessments of cybersecurity threats – whether classified or not – by state and local governments.  These changes, which we understand to be drafted by the House and Senate intelligence committees and submitted to the conference committee almost entirely in secret, are not the way legislation should be enacted and could actually endanger our nation’s infrastructure by impeding government and public oversight of responses to cybersecurity threats. Unfortunately, we [More]

Cybersecurity doesn’t need a FOIA exemption

We support Senator Leahy’s efforts to remove a proposed statutory exemption to disclosure under FOIA from the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA). The Leahy amendment would keep intact generous protections for the private sector to share information with the government that currently exist in FOIA and in other parts of CISA itself. The Leahy amendment prevents harm to the balanced protections already in FOIA for transparency and accountability on one hand and interests such as trade secrecy, personal privacy on the other. Read our letter.

SSCI’s Cybersecurity Bill Would Chill News Reporting

The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2014 (CISA), released as a draft by Chairman Dianne Feinstein on June 17 and soon to be considered by the Senate Intelligence Committee, would threaten the flow of accurate news and information to the public and policymakers. The bill would allow government agencies to collect, without a warrant or other traditional legal process, journalists’ phone and other records if the government considers the journalists or their sources threats to the security of information stored on computer networks. In a letter sent to the Senate intelligence Committee today, the Sunshine in Government Initiative pointed out [More]