Congressional Record

David Schweikert Goes Against Internet Security Bill "CISPA," Appears to Reject Ben Quayle's Assertion of Privacy Protections

For those who are struggling to find differences between Congressmen David Schweikert and Ben Quayle in their impending primary election in CD6, House activity late last week brought another division between the two.

Despite the popular belief, there actually are differences in the House records of Schweikert and Quayle, and the actions taken on the latest controversial Internet-related bill known as "CISPA" were the latest.

Last week, we asked Quayle to address some of the concerns in the bill as one of the 112 co-sponsors, as the legislation had online communities in a tizzy and was being compared to the shelved "SOPA" and "PIPA" bills, which led to outrage on the Internet.

While SOPA was supposed to mainly target intellectual property on the Internet, CISPA allows private companies to share information with the government in the name of perceived "cyber threats" -- which led to the concerns about the broad scope of information about what people are doing online that companies could turn over to the government.

CISPA passed the House on Thursday, but not until Quayle proposed an amendment to address the privacy concerns, which passed on a 410-3 vote.

Quayle offered his amendment to attempt to make stricter "limitations on how the government can use the information it collects." Although he did change the wording around in that section of the bill, he did technically add more ways in which the government would be allowed to use the information given to it -- which he justified.

"If the government violates this limitation, the bill provides for government liability for actual damages, costs and attorney's fees in a federal court lawsuit," Quayle said. "The government can only use cyber threat information for a limited number of purposes related to cyber security and national security. These provisions together ensure sound privacy protections and necessary cyber security protections for American companies and individuals."

Since CISPA became a hot issue with the public, a few of Arizona's congressmen, including Schweikert, let it be known that they weren't fans of the legislation.

Schweikert also followed through on his position, voting against the bill, and released a statement through his office that appears to address the privacy concerns Quayle sought to address.

Here's his full statement:

I could not support this bill because of the lack of government accountability for individual protection.

I have concerns that the private information gathered by the Department of Homeland Security would be passed on to other government entities that have little to no civilian oversight.

Further, CISPA provides few limitations on the types and uses of this information that could be shared. Companies who hand data over to the government under CISPA are exempt from criminal and civil liabilities as long as those companies say they were acting 'in good faith.' While CISPA provides excellent protection for American companies, it provides little protection for American citizens.

While we must protect America's cybersecurity, I will not support a bill that encroaches on our civil liberties.

The White House issued a veto threat on the bill before it even reached a full vote by the House, but the House kept on chooglin' anyway.

Again, if the debates and campaign talk aren't doing it for you, Schweikert and Quayle still aren't twins in the House.

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley