Third Time’s The Charm? House To Take Another Stab At Terrible CISPA Internet Bill

Not unlike a mummy, the reanimated corpse of a bad bill that just doesn’t know when to stay dead is once again coming to the floor of a Congress near you this week. Tomorrow, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act — better known as CISPA — is once again going to be introduced before the House of Representatives.

The Hill confirmed the report that Maryland Representative Dutch Ruppersberger will (re- re-) introduce the bill tomorrow.

The new version is likely to be basically the same as the old, which “directs the federal government to conduct cybersecurity activities to provide shared situational awareness enabling integrated operational actions to protect, prevent, mitigate, respond to, and recover from cyber incidents.”

In other words, CISPA makes it easier for intelligence agencies to share everyone’s digital information amongst themselves, with the stated goal of preventing cyberterrorism and other hacks. But while security in the digital world is indeed rapidly proving to be at least as important as security in the physical world, the bill’s good intentions are matched by deep problems.

Specifically, lawmakers, advocates, and others have expressed concerns that as written, CISPA would allow the government to infringe (even more) on citizens’ privacy and would allow the government to demand access personal information, like emails and Internet history, without first getting search warrants or having to follow other legal procedures.

CISPA is one of those bills that just won’t stay dead. The first go at it came up for a vote in the spring of 2012. The legislation passed in the House in a 248-168 vote, but then didn’t make it in the Senate.

A year later, in 2013, CISPA came up yet again. The House once again supported it, voting 288-127 in favor, but the Senate didn’t even bother to give it a look, and there it died once more.

But with the new year comes a new Congress. Any old pending business was basically swept away when the 114th session of our august legislative body was sworn in on Tuesday, and now CISPA gets a chance to be resurrected and shamble once more before lawmakers.

Rep. Ruppersberger told The Hill, ““The reason I’m putting bill in now is I want to keep the momentum going on what’s happening out there in the world,” referring to the current zeitgeist around cybersecurity and internet espionage surrounding the Sony hack.

But Sony isn’t the only chatter flitting through the air. Revelations over the past two years about the depth and breadth of NSA snooping have given rise to a tide of talks about privacy rights.

That, too, might change some of the feeling behind CISPA this time around, even with a different party in charge of the Senate.

House Dem revives major cyber bill [The Hill]