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Cyber Intelligence Sharing And Protection Act or CISPA Sails Through Unchallenged

with 7 comments

CISPAWhile the media was preoccupied with the hunt for the Boston bombers, the House of Representatives passed the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act or CISPA, despite a White House veto threat and an outcry from privacy advocates and civil liberties groups.

The bill is in response to recent threats from Chinese hackers, and would essentially allow a free flow of information between private companies and the federal government.

For example, the provision would allow the government to notify Facebook should they notice any threat of hackers, and similarly Facebook could share information with the government if they notice any strange activity on their site.

A liability clause essentially requires private companies to hand over private information in certain situations, where as the sharing of government information with the private sector is entirely voluntary. Furthermore, national security measures require the government to anonymize any information they share with third parties, whereas private companies do not have this protection.

CISPA has managed stay out of the news due to the fact that a number of major corporations and tech firms are actually in support of the bill.

Business groups say the privacy concern is overblown.

“When it comes to sharing, there are practical, business reasons why companies carefully protect” sensitive information, Tim Molino with the Business Software Alliance recently wrote in an online post urging lawmakers to pass the bill.

“At the end of the day, personal information is customer information, and maintaining trust with customers is a core business imperative,” Molino added.

In its veto threat issued Tuesday, the White House echoed that concern.

“Citizens have a right to know that corporations will be held accountable – and not granted immunity – for failing to safeguard personal information adequately,” the White House stated.

However, privacy advocates and civil liberties groups say the bill would open up Americans’ most private online records to the federal government. The bill doesn’t include a requirement that companies scrub data of sensitive information like health or credit records before sharing it with the government.

In its veto threat issued Tuesday, the White House echoed that concern.

“Citizens have a right to know that corporations will be held accountable – and not granted immunity – for failing to safeguard personal information adequately,” the White House stated.

Compared with SOPA, a bill that was thrown out last year that would have given the government the power to pull any “dangerous” website offline, CISPA is more directly targeted toward hackers, something that companies lose millions of dollars to every year.

Hacktivist group Anonymous, who organized the internet blackout to protest SOPA last year, is planning another protest. However, the only groups that feel seriously threatened by CISPA are libertarians and other privacy rights organizations.

Larger sites however, such as Google and Wikipedia, have respectfully declined to be part of the Anonymous organized protest.

The corporate interests are too large, and these multi-million dollar companies have too much at stake when it comes to internet hacking that a rejection of CISPA would go directly against their better interests.

Unfortunately, the biggest losers here are consumers and daily internet user, who now keep more private and sensitive information in cyberspace than in their basement filing cabinets.

The law requires the government to acquire a search warrant to come into your home and investigate your computer history.

With CISPA, that legal middleman is eliminated and the government can go straight to Google or Bank of America to acquire your online emails or bank statements.

Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety. Benjamin Franklin, Historical Review of Pennsylvania, 1759

7 Responses

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  1. I have mixed emotions about this issue. I want my personal information to be protected. Thanks for the post.

  2. Its a tough call whether to be for it or not.

    Robbin B

    April 24, 2013 at 11.27 am04

  3. I think it is a case of the cure being worse than the disease. And I hope they are sharing old prophetic books like 1984 with our young people. Big Brother exists.

    Judith Kavanaugh

    April 24, 2013 at 11.27 am04

  4. What’s the hidden agenda?


    April 24, 2013 at 11.27 am04

  5. Very difficult to say which us worse !! Thanks for the article !!!


    April 24, 2013 at 11.27 am04

  6. One would have thought that if it is to protect against cyber attack, personal details shouldn’t need to be shared. What they should be looking at is IP addresses, where the attack came from and identifying the attackers. Personal data in most cases would have nothing to do with this protection unless it is the hackers themselves being identified. There’s more to this than meets the eye.

    Luigi Cappel

    April 24, 2013 at 11.27 am04

  7. I struggle with this one…I can’t decide which is worse; the illness or the cure.

    Harold Gardner

    April 24, 2013 at 11.27 am04

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