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Congress Slips Surveillance Bill Into Must-Pass Budget Measure

Deep inside an omnibus budget bill to prevent a government shutdown is the controversial Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015.

The Verge

After more than a year of stalemate, Congress has used an unconventional procedural measure to bring a controversial cyber surveillance bill to the floor. Late last night, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., announced a 2,000-page omnibus budget bill, a last-minute compromise necessary to prevent a government shutdown. But while the bulk of the bill concerns taxes and spending, it contains a surprise 1,729 pages in: The full text of the controversial Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015, which passed the Senate in October.

CISA has been widely criticized since it was first introduced in 2014, with Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., calling it “a surveillance bill by another name.” The bill would make it easier for private sector companies to share user information with the government and other companies, removing privacy and liability protections in the name of better cyber security. But critics like Wyden say removing those protections would turn Internet backbone companies into de facto surveillance organs, with no incentive to protect users’ privacy.

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