Changes to the bill include new language that allows businesses that share information with the federal government to reduce the amount of personal data sent along. Additionally, the newest draft, released April 17, eliminates the mention of intellectual property theft that would overlap with anti-piracy laws. The new version of H.R. 3523 would further allow lawsuits against the government for unlawfully disclosing personal information collected under the bill.
The bill has been the target of criticism in the past week from privacy groups that have launched an online campaign against the bill. The groups maintain that the bill would “negate existing privacy laws and allow companies to share user data with the government without a court order.”
“[H.R. 3523] would allow [internet Service Providers], social networking sites, and anyone else handling internet communications to monitor users and pass information to the government without any judicial oversight,” Rainey Reitman, the activism director for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said. “The language of this bill is dangerously vague, so that personal online activity—from the mundane to the intimate—could be implicated.”
Rogers and his panel have released several new drafts of the bill this month intended to quell the concerns of privacy groups.
“We’re finding language we can agree on,” Rogers said in a speech to the Ripon Society. “Are we going to agree on everything? Probably not. They don’t want anything, anytime, ever.”
Rogers said that he hopes releasing new drafts of the bill will give the privacy groups “language that at least allows them to sleep at night.”