Cybersecurity Bills Threaten Public Access to Information, Accountability

Organizations concerned with open government and accountability have rallied in opposition to provisions in cybersecurity bills recently introduced in the Senate that would unduly cut off public access to information that may be critical to public health and safety.

Today, concurrent with a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing examining the public's right to know, released a letter signed by more than 40 organizations objecting to sweeping provisions in the cybersecurity bill recently introduced by Senator McCain, that create unnecessary, overbroad and unwise exemptions to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). In February, we released a letter expressing concerns about similarly expansive provisions, in S.2105, the Cybersecurity Act of 2012 – a bill introduced by Senator Lieberman – to expand the government's ability to keep information out of the public's hands, and jeopardize the rights of whistleblowers.

According to Patrice McDermott, Executive Director of, "Public access to information is critical to accountability. What does our government know about risks and vulnerabilities and what is it doing to ensure these are mitigated? What we are kept from knowing can indeed hurt us. The Senate owes it to the public to carefully consider and pass a bill that both protects our nation’s computer networks and promotes transparency and accountability"