The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) is another bill that is currently moving through Congress. It was first introduced in November of 2011, but failed to pass the Senate after a successful House vote in April 2012. It was reintroduced this past February and most recently passed the House of Representatives on April 18th.
CISPA was authored in an effort to protect the nation’s critical infrastructure from cyberattacks by encouraging companies to share real-time information with other companies and the government about potential attacks. But it has drawn the ire of privacy advocates who, while they appreciate the intent of the bill, warn that it will allow such information sharing without redacting users’ sensitive information and without obtaining a warrant.
Those who oppose the bill include organizations such as Reddit, which raised concerns to fellow technology companies like Google, Facebook and Twitter, warning that CISPA “would invalidate their current privacy policies with their respective user bases.” The Electronic Frontier Foundation warned that the bill “grants legal immunity for companies to share your private information.” While some amendments have been made to the bill prior to its passage in the House of Representatives, such organizations still have concerns that the amendments have not gone far enough to protect internet users’ privacy.
But some technology supporters – which included Google, Facebook, Twitter, and TechNet, the network of technology executives – argue that such information sharing is crucial to protect their networks, though they expressed an interest in furthering the dialogue about ways to protect privacy as the bill progresses through the process.
Lawmakers who support the bill also argue that it will protect intellectual property from would-be foreign thieves.
“Cyber-hackers from nation-states like China, Russia and Iran are infiltrating American cybernetworks, stealing billions of dollars a year in intellectual property and undermining the technological innovation at the heart of America’s economy,” House Intelligence chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), sponsor of CISPA, said after Wednesday’s closed-door vote. “This bill takes a solid step toward helping American businesses protect their networks from these cyber looters.”
Amendments were made to the bill in an attempt to better protect privacy and contracts between companies and their users. Some failed to make it into the final bill, while others still do not go far enough to protect privacy, according to privacy advocates.
President Obama has threatened to veto the bill if it makes it to his desk, citing concerns over privacy and civil liberties. The bill will now go to the Senate, though it is expected to face resistance there.
Rather than try to break down every provision in the bill myself for you, I’ll direct you to a variety of resources that do so from various perspectives.
- PCMag: What is CISPA, and Why Should You Care?
- Heritage Foundation Blog: Top-Down Cybersecurity Regulations: An Outdated Solution
- Cato: CISPA’s Vast Overreach
- The Economist: From SOPA to CISPA
- National Journal: How CISPA Opponents Were Outspent by Industry Lobbyists, 38 to 1
- Electronic Frontier Foundation: CISPA is Back: FAQ on What it is and Why it’s Still Dangerous
- US House of Representatives Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence: CISPA Letters of Support
- Full text of CISPA: Bill text of Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act
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