CISPA Passes In The House But Senate Will Likely Knock It Down Due To Privacy Concerns

It’s baaaaaack: Last year we started paying attention to the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, otherwise known as CISPA, for its perceived similarities to the reviled SOPA and PIPA bills. Despite getting killed off last year, CISPA has now been approved by the U.S. House of Representatives by a huge margin.

The House adopted CISPA by a 288-127 vote today, reports CNET, which is an improvement over the response it received the last time it was in the House. But the White House already threatened to veto it if it goes any further, and since the Democrats control Senate, it’s unlikely to survive a vote there.

Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich) is CISPA’s stalwart sponsor, and says the bill is “so important to our national security” that it’s gotta get adopted. He also heads the House Intelligence Committee, it’s worth noting, but he says CISPA is “not a surveillance bill.”

So what is it? At its most basic, CISPA would allow Internet entities and businesses to share email and other confidential information on users with the federal government. Proponents say this is important in order to protect the country from a cyber attack. The sharing would be voluntary.

“Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a self-protected entity may, for cybersecurity purposes — (i) use cybersecurity systems to identify and obtain cyber threat information to protect the rights and property of such self-protected entity; and (ii) share such cyber threat information with any other entity, including the Federal Government…The term ‘self-protected entity’ means an entity, other than an individual, that provides goods or services for cybersecurity purposes to itself.”

In other words, social media site, Internet service providers, email services and more could, if they wanted to, hand over information to the government in the name of protecting national security.

While the Senate probably won’t pass the bill, it could set the stage for some kind of future bipartisan effort to further shore up cybersecurity. As it stands now, Democrats and opponents of CISPA say it doesn’t do enough to protect the privacy of individuals, with amendments scrapped that would have made sure companies had to abide by their own privacy policies and terms of use when sharing data with the government.

CISPA plan to let feds receive confidential data wins big House vote [CNET]

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