Organizations Opposed To Undercutting FOIA In Cybersecurity Bills

ORGANIZATIONS OPPOSED TO UNDERCUTTING FOIA IN CYBERSECURITY BILLS

May 14, 2012 Dear Senators:

On behalf of the undersigned organizations concerned with government openness and accountability, we are writing to oppose S.2105, the Cybersecurity Act of 2012, if it includes Title 7. We are also writing to oppose S. 2151, Strengthening and Enhancing Cybersecurity by Using Research, Education, Information, and Technology Act (SECURE IT). Both Section 704(d) of S. 2105 and S. 2151 create unnecessary, overbroad and unwise exemptions to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).

S. 2151 and Title 7 of S. 2105 cut off all public access to ”cyber(security) threat” information received by the government before Congress and the public have the chance to understand the types of information that are covered by these bills. Much of the sensitive information likely to be shared is already protected from disclosure under the FOIA; other information that may be shared could be critical for the public to ensure its safety. Unnecessarily wide-ranging exemptions of this type have the potential to harm public safety and the national defense more than they enhance those interests; the public is unable to assess whether the government is adequately combating cybersecurity threats and, therefore, unable to assess whether or how to participate in that process, and to hold officials accountable. 

-- Full Letter --