Major CISPA opponent steps down, jeopardizing White House’s veto promise

Posted on May 18, 2012


The House-approved legislation that would erode Internet privacy for Americans might have just bypassed a major hurdle. The White House official who publically condemned CISPA has suddenly stepped down as Obama’s cybersecurity coordinator.

Howard A. Schmidt announced on Thursday that he will be stepping down as the White House’s cybersecurity coordinator, a post he has held for over two years. Michael Daniel, a 17-year veteran at the Office of Management and Budget’s National Security Division, will assume Schmidt’s role.

Schmidt’s announcement comes at a time when cybersecurity is one of the most heated topics being weighed in by lawmakers in Washington. As an opponent of the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act — CISPA — Schmidt is believed to be instrumental in the White House’s opposition to the bill. After members of the US House of Representatives passed CISPA earlier this year, the White House declared that the president’s top advisors would suggest that the commander-in-chief vetoes the legislation if it makes it to the Oval Office. With Schmidt out of the picture, however, the future of CISPA is now more uncertain than ever.

Larry Clinton of the Internet Security Alliance tells the Bank Info Security website, “Howard can be credited for being one of the major influences on the emergence of cybersecurity as a major issue requiring far more intensified public policy analysis and direction than was the case before Howard took office.” But as an opponent of CISPA, even the White House’s own cybersecurity coordinator found flaws with the bill. Until his replacement officially condemns the act himself, the same cannot be said for him.


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