A controversial data-sharing bill won the approval of a key congressional committee today without privacy amendments, raising concerns that the National Security Agency and other spy agencies will gain broad access to Americans' personal information.
The House Intelligence committee, by a vote of 18 to 2, adopted the so-called CISPA bill after an unusual session closed to the public where panel members debated and voted on the proposed law in secret.
Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), who proposed three unsuccessful privacy amendments, said afterward she was disappointed her colleagues did not limit the NSA and other intelligence agencies from collecting sensitive data on Americans. (See CNET's CISPA FAQ.)
Her privacy amendments would have "required that companies report cyber threat information directly to civilian agencies, and maintained the long-standing tradition that the military doesn't operate on U.S. soil against American citizens," Schakowsky said.
Schakowsky had attempted to fix one of the most contested parts of CISPA: language overruling every state and federal privacy law by allowing companies to "share" some types of confidential customer information with the NSA and other intelligence and law enforcement agencies. While no portion of CISPA requires companies to share data with the feds, major telecommunications providers have illegally shared customer data with the NSA before, leading to a congressional grant of retroactive immunity in 2008.