Congress Adds 'CISA' To 'Omnibus' Budget Bill, Up To President Obama To Veto

The Fight for the Future civil liberties organization announced that CISA, the “surveillance bill by another name,” was added to the “must-pass” budget bill for next year as a way to make it virtually unstoppable.

Fight for the Future was one of the groups that has fought CISA since it was named CISPA, in its previous version. Earlier this year, the group led a series of online campaigns that eventually got companies such as Apple, Google, Twitter, Dropbox, Yahoo, Wikipedia, Yelp, and Salesforce to come out in opposition to the bill. The digital rights group has also mobilized 15,000 websites to protest against the bill and sent six million faxes to the Senate, as well as hundreds of thousands of emails and phone calls.

Now, FFTF is calling on President Obama to keep his promise that he would veto any cybersecurity bill that doesn’t have proper privacy protections. CISA already had some weak privacy protections when it passed the Senate. Then, when it was merged with two other similar bills from the House, all of those privacy protections were completely removed.

The new bill would give the NSA the opportunity to “take lead” on getting the data directly from private companies, as opposed to the DHS doing so as a civil agency, and then passing a sanitized version of that data over to the NSA.

The bill also expands the liability protection companies get from sharing the data with the NSA or the DHS, which means there could be many more opportunities for abuse. When private companies know they have legal immunity when sharing whatever data the NSA or DHS asks of them, they could be much more likely to comply than if they were worried their users would sue them for sharing personal information without a warrant.

Fight for the Future launched a website called, calling for the President to veto the CISA bill in any form:

“Now is when we’ll find out whether President Obama really cares about the Internet and freedom of speech, or whether he’s happy to roll over and allow technologically illiterate members of Congress break the Internet in the name of cybersecurity,” said Evan Greer, campaign director of Fight for the Future.“This administration promised to veto any information sharing bill that did not adequately protect Internet users’ privacy, and the final version of this bill doesn’t even come close. It’s time for President Obama to deliver on his word,” he added.

Congress is expected to vote the “omnibus” budget bill, which now includes CISA, in the coming week. FFTF’s online tool gives people the opportunity to sign up to be “daily callers” who will be prompted to call the White House every day until President Obama keep his promise and threatens to veto the whole bill if CISA remains included in the budget bill.


Lucian Armasu joined Tom’s Hardware in early 2014. He writes news stories on mobile, chipsets, security, privacy, and anything else that might be of interest to him from the technology world. Outside of Tom’s Hardware, he dreams of becoming an entrepreneur.

You can follow him at @lucian_armasu. Follow us on Facebook, Google+, RSS, Twitter and YouTube.

Lucian Armasu
Lucian Armasu is a Contributing Writer for Tom's Hardware US. He covers software news and the issues surrounding privacy and security.
  • alextheblue
    I doubt he'll veto it unless there's something ELSE in there he actually doesn't like. He's all for NSA mass warrantless surveillance (whether directly or by making private companies collect and share). He only acts like he's not when someone like Snowden exposes what they're doing. Then it's "Oh I didn't know this was going on - I'm just the President! I first found out when I saw it on TV just like all you ignorant slobs, honest!"
  • thor220
    Why don't they just call this what is really is, the "we're totally getting bank lobby money" bill. First they try to shoehorn anti-net law into the bill and now this? What's next? Pay double fees to comcast because they have a monopoly?
  • zfreak280
    Of course Apple, Google, and Microsoft oppose this bill. They don't want government surveillance programs using bandwidth or resources from their own surveillance programs.
  • f-14
    Committee on the Judiciary


    Privacy, Technology, and the Law (Ranking Member)
    Antitrust, Competition Policy, and Consumer Rights
    The Constitution
    Crime and Terrorism
    Immigration and the National Interest
    The Judiciary Committee oversees important legal issues such as civil rights, consumer protection, crime, and judicial nominations. Most Senators on the Judiciary Committee are lawyers, but I'm not. So at first I thought it was unusual that I was appointed to Judiciary. But I did some research, and it turns out that most Minnesotans aren't lawyers either. So I decided to use my spot on this Committee to ask the common sense questions that regular Minnesotans would ask and ensure that someone was looking out for how these issues affect consumers, small businesses, and individuals' civil rights. It's actually a pretty great Committee for doing those things. My first week in the Senate I got a great chance to speak up for regular Minnesotans as part of the nomination hearing for Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, and I've since been involved in the discussion of how corporate donations will affect our American elections, and how the proposed NBC/Comcast merger is going to affect consumers.

    I am the Ranking Member on the subcommittee on Privacy, Technology, and the Law which includes oversight of laws and policies governing the collection, protection, use, and dissemination of commercial information by the private sector, including online behavioral advertising; privacy within social networking websites and other online privacy issues; enforcement and implementation of commercial information privacy laws and policies; use of technology by the private sector to protect privacy, enhance transparency and encourage innovation; privacy standards for the collection, retention, use and dissemination of personally identifiable commercial information; and privacy implications of new or emerging technologies.

    Learn more about the Senate Judiciary Committee:
  • gggplaya
    Obama won't Veto this, in his speech he played ignorance on the NO-FLY list because he totally supports it. Knowing full well how crappy and abused the list is. Zero guidelines for getting on the list and riddled with abuse, with no legal avenue for getting off the list, which violates a person's constitutional rights to due process. You're essentially guilty with no proof, you lose your right to travel with no court room time to plead your innocence.
  • ThadeusD
    If Obama is given the choice between defending your freedoms and spending ever more of your money then your freedoms are going to have a very, very bad day.
  • eagle1967
    "if obama keeps his promise" haha. thanks for the humor this morning.
  • surphninja
    It needs to be stopped, but we're screwed by the TPP anyway.
  • jeremy2020
    I, for one, Welcome our Oceania overlords. Stop your thoughtcrime!
  • Tykkopoles
    I love how this gets made into an Obama-bashing thread... Or any president, for that matter. Remember, there are 535 infinitely more corrupt politicians that created CISA in the first place. It never surprises me that these bills keep coming up, since the people are too busy blaming the president currently in office instead of voting out 95% of Congress.

    How messed up is it that the president is limited to 8 years maximum, yet some of the people in Congress have been there for FIFTY YEARS?!? I honestly do not understand why there is no term limits in Congress... New blood is definitely needed there.