WASHINGTON – EWG applauded
the rejection today by congressional leaders of efforts by the food industry to
block GMO labeling through a rider in the omnibus spending bill.
“We applaud congressional leaders for rejecting efforts to block
state GMO labeling laws in the omnibus,” said Colin O’Neil, EWG’s director of
agricultural policy. “An end-of-the-year, must-pass spending bill is the wrong
vehicle to address an issue as important as our right to know what’s in our
food and how it’s grown.”
The omnibus will also block the sale of recently-approved GMO
salmon until a mandatory labeling standard is agreed upon by FDA.
Recent polling shows
that nearly 9 out of 10 Americans want mandatory labeling of genetically
modified foods. But the food industry tried to attach to the spending bill a
provision known as the DARK Act – for Denying Americans the Right to Know –
that would block states from requiring GMO labeling.
EWG's O'Neil praised Senators Stabenow, Merkley, Tester, Boxer,
Feinstein, Leahy, Sanders, Murphy, Blumenthal, Warren, Markey, Heinrich, Reed,
Booker, Shaheen, Mikulski and Reps. DeFazio, Welch, DeLauro, Pingree,
McGovern, Blumenauer, Young, Huffman, Polis, Pelosi, Farr and Lowey for
their efforts to keep the legislation out of the annual omnibus appropriations
“We need a national, mandatory GMO disclosure system that works
for consumers but does not stigmatize GMOs,” O’Neil said. “Americans simply
want the right to know what’s in our food – just like consumers in 64 other
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Also read : Congress Slips CISA Into a Budget Bill That’s
Sure to Pass
PRIVACY ADVOCATES WERE aghast
in October when theSenate passed the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act by a vote of 74
to 21, leaving intact portions of the law they say make it more
amenable to surveillance than actual security. Now, as CISA gets closer to the
President’s desk, those privacy critics argue that Congress has quietly
stripped out even more of its remaining privacy protections.
In a late-night session of Congress, House Speaker Paul Ryan
announced a new version of the “omnibus” bill, a massive piece of legislation
that deals with much of the federal government’s funding. It now includes a
version of CISA as well. Lumping CISA in with the omnibus bill further reduces
any chance for debate over its surveillance-friendly provisions, or a White
House veto. And the latest version actually chips away even further at the
remaining personal information protections that privacy advocates had fought
for in the version of the bill that passed the Senate.
“They took a bad bill, and they made it worse,” says Robyn Greene,
policy counsel for the Open Technology Institute.
CISA had alarmed the privacy community by giving companies the
ability to share cybersecurity information with federal agencies, including the
NSA, “notwithstanding any other provision of law.” That means CISA’s
information-sharing channel, ostensibly created for responding quickly to hacks
and breaches, could also provide a loophole in privacy laws that enabled
intelligence and law enforcement surveillance without a warrant.
The latest version of the bill appended to the omnibus legislation
seems to exacerbate that problem. It creates the ability for the president to
set up “portals” for agencies like the FBI and the Office of the Director of
National Intelligence, so that companies hand information directly to law
enforcement and intelligence agencies instead of to the Department of Homeland
Security. And it also changes when information shared for cybersecurity reasons
can be used for law enforcement investigations. The earlier bill had only
allowed that backchannel use of the data for law enforcement in cases of
“imminent threats,” while the new bill requires just a “specific threat,”
potentially allowing the search of the data for any specific terms regardless
Senator Ron Wyden also spoke out against the changes to the bill
in a press statement, writing they’d worsened a bill he already opposed as a
surveillance bill in the guise of cybersecurity protections. “Americans deserve
policies that protect both their security and their liberty,” he wrote. “This
bill fails on both counts.” Senator Richard Burr, who had introduced the
earlier version of bill, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
Even in its earlier
version, CISA had drawn the opposition of tech firms including Apple,
Twitter, and Reddit, as well as the Business Software Alliance and the Computer
and Communications Industry Association. In April, a coalition of 55 civil
liberties groups and security experts signed onto an open letter opposing it. In July, the Department
of Homeland Security itself warned that the bill could overwhelm the agency with data
of “dubious value” at the same time as it “sweep[s] away privacy protections.”
That Senate CISA bill was already likely on its way to become law.
The White House expressed its support for the bill in August, despite its
threat to veto similar legislation in the past. But the inclusion of CISA in
the omnibus package may make it even more likely to be signed into law in its
current form. Any “nay” vote in the house—or President Obama’s veto—would also
threaten the entire budget of the federal government.
“They’re kind of pulling a Patriot Act,” says OTI’s Greene.
“They’ve got this bill that’s kicked around for years and had been too
controversial to pass, so they’ve seen an opportunity to push it through
without debate. And they’re taking that opportunity.”
: http://www.wired.com/2015/12/congress-slips-cisa-into-omnibus-bill-thats-sure-to-pass/ Earth Approved Corp. - non Profit organization 786-285-3190 email@example.com www.EarthApproved.org Kicstarter for Earth Approved app www.EarthApproved.net