ACLU lawyer: GOP wants companies to decide privacy rights

By Eric W. Dolan
Thursday, August 2, 2012 21:47 EDT
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Michelle Richardson of the American Civil Liberties Union said Thursday that Senate Republicans killed the Cybersecurity Act because it provided too many online privacy protections.

The ACLU had originally opposed the bill, warning that it would give federal agencies easy access to private online communications and other personal Internet data. But the ACLU dropped its opposition to the bill after several privacy-oriented changes were made.

“The sponsors of the bill worked with privacy advocates and the Obama administration to make some pretty substantial changes to make sure privacy was protected in this bill,” Richardson said on Current TV. “The bill actually turned out pretty decent as far as privacy was concerned, which led to a number of Republicans opposing the bill, saying that it actually went too far on privacy and that they preferred an approach that would allow the companies more leeway to decide whether our privacy would be protected.”

The bill would have required annual reports from federal agencies, which would have described what information is received, who gets it, and what is done with it. It also would have given Americans the right to sue the government if it intentionally or willfully violated the law.

Bianca Bosker, Huffington Post executive tech editor, explained that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce opposed the bill because it allegedly created “onerous” requirements for businesses, which would lead to government interference.

“The Republicans that voted against it also said that the supporters were trying to steam-roll it through, and of course there is a big election coming up,” she said. “Cybersecurity has been near and dear to the Obama administration.”

Watch video, courtesy of Current TV, below:

Eric W. Dolan
Eric W. Dolan
Eric W. Dolan has served as an editor for Raw Story since August 2010, and is based out of Sacramento, California. He grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and received a Bachelor of Science from Bradley University. Eric is also the publisher and editor of PsyPost. You can follow him on Twitter @ewdolan.
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