Just as it did last year, the US House Intelligence Committee will hold its markup of the controversial Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) out of public view in a closed session. The committee has yet to formally schedule the markup, where it will discuss and consider potential amendments to the cybersecurity bill. Designed to grant private companies the ability to share information on suspected online threats with the government (and vice versa), CISPA — now on its second trip through legislation — has raised no shortage of privacy concerns among the public and watchdog groups.
A petition calling for the Obama administration to stop CISPA dead in its tracks crossed the 100,000 signature mark last month, requiring the White House to issue a formal response. The bill has also drawn its share of criticism from the tech industry: Facebook and Microsoft have both pushed a balanced approach to cybersecurity and continued dialogue among lawmakers and the public. While the Intelligence Committee markup will happen behind closed doors, members will be able to discuss the proceedings once the session has concluded. The Hill reports that the committee will also release details on proposed amendments and vote outcomes. That's still not enough for privacy groups, who earlier this week filed a written request to open up markup session to public scrutiny. "The public has a right to know how Congress is conducting the people’s business, particularly when such important wide-ranging policies are at stake," the letter reads. Unfortunately that outcome remains unlikely, a House spokesperson justifies the closed off nature by claiming that classified or otherwise sensitive details could come up during discussion.