Earlier this month, House lawmakers passed a cyber security bill called the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, also known as CISPA. The bill would make it easier for private companies to share information about cyber attacks with the government. However, some activists, along with the White House, have said the bill raises privacy concerns. Meanwhile, Maryland Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger told the Hill that a hacking group known as 'Anonymous' targeted him for having a hand in crafting the legislation. David Hawkings, writer for the Hawkings Here column for Roll Call, talks about the latest.
On why the hacking group known as 'Anonymous' would target Rep. Ruppersberger: "He's the author of the bill... the reason he's one of the co-authors of the bill is that he is the top Democrat on the House Select Committee on Intelligence. It's a small committee. I think there are only a dozen members on it. This has become Ruppersberger's signature issue in Congress since he's arrived in the Baltimore area a few years ago. He's determined to get it done this time. Last year, they passed a slightly different version of CISPA, depending on your point of view. And it got fewer votes than last time, so he's trying again this time."
On how Congress' approach to cyber security changing: "I think they're becoming much more cautious, and because they are becoming much more aware at the type of vitriolic opposition that any effort to improve the government's data sharing, or the government's control over data is engendering with groups like "Anonymous." They are probably the most extreme and widely known example. But it's all over the ideological spectrum. Civil liberties and privacy are sort of the place and issue where the left and the right come together... This has gotten on the national radar in a way that I don't think Congress has realized."
On what kind of cyber security bill would get the support of both chambers of Congress: "That's a big problem... the Senate went nowhere on this. Two years ago, they were taking a cautious approach. This time, the president has signal, but not emphatically tried to veto what the House passed. House bill got 280-some odd votes anyway, which is close to a veto proof majority, so you would think that they have sort of found the magic formula, if they can get that close to a veto-proof majority."
On new developments about Syria's use of chemical weapons, and how Ruppersberger will be involved: "Right, he is central to that issue, too. He is the member from our region that is most in the news this week, because as the top Democrat on the House Intelligence, he will be in all the briefings... even when Congress is briefed by even the most senior administration officials on the most sensitive stuff, Ruppersberger is there. So, he will be sort of in charge of translating to his own fellow Democrats what his administration is telling them."
Listen to the full analysis here.