While nobody was watching, the Senate a couple of days ago passed something called the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA), which passed at least partly because if you say “Cyber warfare, boogedy-boogedy!” around nervous legislators these days, they’ll pass a bill agreeing to have the NSA plant microchips in their spleens. The bill passed by one of those bipartisan majorities so beloved by Beltway pundits, 74-21. Now it goes to conference, and its final passage may be stalled because of the currently fluid state of the House Republican leadership.
In the Senate, Ron Wyden of Oregon really went to the mattresses over this bill, proposing a slew of privacy-related amendments that barely failed, but that failed nonetheless. To the surprise of absolutely nobody, Dianne Feinstein was the principal Democratic senator whipping support for the bill and, make no mistake, this is a truly awful law. In brief, it not only opens the door to increased trawling through the lives of American citizens by the intelligence community, in many cases, it mandates it.