CJS funding bill would limit high-tech surveillance

Several provisions in the Commerce-Justice-Science bill would bar the use of funds for various surveillance activities.

Shutterstock image: the Capitol Building.

The House passed a $51.4 billion Commerce, Justice and Science funding bill for fiscal 2016 on June 3 that would pare back the government's authority to conduct surveillance on communications.

Taken together, they constitute something of a follow-on to the USA Freedom Act, just signed into law, which put new rules on the bulk collection and searching of telephone metadata by spy agencies.

The bill, passed 242-183, includes:

*An amendment by Ted Poe (R-Texas) that would prohibit funding for government to require technology companies to build in support for tapping encrypted communications. The provision would put the brakes on efforts by FBI Director James Comey to guarantee that law enforcement agencies have access to encrypted communications. The amendment was adopted by voice vote.

* An amendment by Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) that would bar funding of efforts by federal law enforcement to use "stingray" devices, which simulate the activity of cell towers to capture location and identifying information from mobile phones, to collect data in bulk without a court order. The amendment was adopted by voice vote.

* An amendment by Jared Polis (D-Colo.) that would ban the Drug Enforcement Administration from collecting phone records in bulk. The amendment was adopted by voice vote.

* An amendment by Thomas Massie (R-Ky.) that would bar the National Institute of Standards and Technology from coordinating on encryption or computer security standards with the CIA and the National Security Agency, except for the purposes of improving information security. The Massie amendment was a response to revelations from former NSA contractor Edward Snowden and other sources about collaboration between NIST and the intelligence community to insert flaws into highly complex encryption standards – revelations that led NIST to ultimately disavow the standards. The amendment was adopted 383-43.

"Don't you want the best security available that the minds in this country can create ... to safeguard your health records, maybe to safeguard your gun records, maybe to safeguard your bank accounts and your credit cards? We are more safe when we have better security and better encryption, so it makes no sense for [NIST] to work with the NSA to weaken our encryption software," Massie said.

Supply chain, census, other IT measures

The bill would renew federal policy requiring supply-chain vetting for the acquisition of high-impact and moderate-impact IT systems, including an assessment from the FBI or other appropriate agency to evaluate cyber risks posed by any system whose manufacture is touched by firms controlled or subsidized by the Chinese government, or other sources identified by the U.S. as posing a cybersecurity threat. The House bill would extend the language of the measure to encompass the renewal as well as the acquisition of systems.

Appropriators are worried about the looming 2020 census. The bill includes $848 million in funding for the count, but there are some strings attached related to IT delivery. The bill would mandate that half the IT funding for the 2020 census be withheld pending the Census Bureau's delivery of a spending plan for the large-scale Census Enterprise Data Collection and Processing project, which would put all the census data gathering, analytics and dissemination technology under a single system for the first time.

The bill would deliver drastic cuts to the National Strategy for Trusted Identities in Cyberspace, a Commerce Department program designed to fund pilot projects to create new methods of online authentication that go beyond simple usernames and passwords. Under the bill, funding of new grants would cease, and second-year awards under 2015 grants would be canceled, with the allowed funding being used to wind up the program.

The White House issued a veto threat before the bill went up for a vote. On the IT side, the Obama administration is particularly concerned about census IT funding, the NIST appropriation, Internet governance transition work being performed by the National Telecommunications and Information Administration at Commerce, funding for Commerce’s digital service team, and budget requests by NASA and the National Science Foundation to comply with the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.