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Assembling a Cybersecurity Bill

Copyright Bill Targets Intermediaries

Global Internet Governance

Featured on Policy Beta

June 1, Falls Church, VA - John Morris will participate in an ISOC panel discussion on "Cloud Computing - A Consumer View"

June 6, Online - Aaron Brauer-Rieke will speak at the Knowledge Congress webcast "Understanding The Federal Trade Commission's Proposed Framework for Consumer Privacy Protection"

June 12, Washington, DC - Harley Geiger will be a panelist at the iDASH privacy seminar, discussing how to make privacy policy workable in legislation and technology.


When the White House on May 12 released a package of legislative proposals for cybersecurity, the likelihood grew that Congress will adopt a bill this year of potentially sweeping impact. CDT issued a detailed analysis of the Administration cybersecurity proposal and testified at a House hearing, praising some elements of the plan but warning about others. Meanwhile, a Senate committee approved the Protect IP Act despite concerns about provisions targeting the domain name system and other Internet intermediaries. And the G8 reaffirmed the importance of Internet openness and freedom to its development and success, in essence rejecting some leaders' one-sided calls for more global regulation of the Internet.

Assembling a Cybersecurity Bill

The White House lent its weight to the ongoing Congressional debate about cybersecurity by releasing its own legislative proposals on May 12. CDT quickly compiled an in-depth, four-part analysis. The Administration wisely rejected the idea of granting the President so-called "Internet kill switch" authority, and in key ways its approach is less heavy-handed than a bill moving through the Senate. Other parts of the White House package, however, including a proposal to enhance sharing of information about cybersecurity attacks, put too much power in the hands of the government.

In testimony before a House Judiciary subcommittee, CDT President Leslie Harris urged Congress to adopt a nuanced approach that not only enhances security but also protects privacy and continues to encourage innovation. Among other points, Harris emphasized that the government should not be monitoring private networks and that transparency, not secrecy, should characterize the government's cybersecurity efforts. She offered specific suggestions on improving the proposal's provision establishing a federal data breach notification requirement.

Copyright Bill Targets Intermediaries

As expected, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved the Protect IP Act, a bill intended to control rogue websites that traffic in material that infringes copyright. CDT and others oppose provisions of the bill that would enlist ISPs as copyright enforcers by ordering them to block certain domain names. Serious concerns have been expressed as well by Internet and payment systems companies and by tech trade groups. In addition, technical experts issued a paper on the bill's targeting of the domain name system (DNS), warning that "[m]andated DNS filtering would be minimally effective and would present technical challenges that could frustrate important security initiatives."

Global Internet Governance

At an "e-G8 forum" in Paris May 24-25, French President Sarkozy garnered headlines with remarks calling for tighter regulation of the Internet. Fortunately, however, when the leaders of the G8 met two days later, they reaffirmed the value of the Internet's openness, transparency and freedom. Their final declaration included a commitment "to encourage the use of the Internet as a tool to advance human rights and democratic participation throughout the world." On the issue of intellectual property, the declaration recognized "that the effective implementation of intellectual property rules requires suitable international cooperation of relevant stakeholders, including with the private sector." Next up for Internet governance: the OECD High Level Meeting on The Internet Economy: Generating Innovation and Growth, to be held June 28-29 in Paris. CDT's Leslie Harris will be chairing a panel on "Principles for Internet Policymaking.

Challenges Loom for 'E-Verify' Employment Verification System

CDT Fellow Annie I. Anton is the latest contributor to our "CDT Fellows Focus" series. Anton writes about the operational challenges facing E-Verify, an Internet-based system that is intended to allow businesses to determine the eligibility of their employees to work in the United States.

Ask CDT: Government Surveillance ... Facts or Fictions?

CDT's Greg Nojeim answers questions about government surveillance, in the latest installment of our popular Ask CDT series.

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