CISPA Passes House to a Cacophony of Groans and Cheers

The controversial Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) passed with bipartisan support by a 248-168 vote in the U.S. House of Representatives last night, despite warnings from privacy experts and a growing public outcry.

The controversial Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) passed with bipartisan support by a 248-168 vote in the U.S. House of Representatives last night, despite warnings from privacy experts and a growing public outcry.

CISPA’s chief supporter and co-sponsor, Mike Rogers (R-MI), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, applauded the bill’s passage. “We can’t stand by and do nothing as U.S. companies are hemorrhaging from the cyber looting coming from nation states like China and Russia,” Chairman Rogers said in a press release on his website. “America will be a little safer and our economy better protected from foreign cyber predators with this legislation.” 

The bill’s co-sponsor, C.A. ‘Dutch’ Rupperspberger (D-MD) called CISPA’s passage not only bipartisan House floor victory, but “a victory for America.” “Our nation is one step closer to making a real difference protecting our country from a catastrophic cyber attack,” Ruppersberger said.

Despite that,  bill’s many opponent’s have called it overly broad, unnecessary, and even dangerous. The Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) expressed disappointment regarding the bill’s passage “in such flawed form and under such a flawed process.” The CDT worked together with the House Intelligence Committee in an attempt to limit CISPA’s scope and amend more narrow definitions into it.

“Hundreds of thousands of Internet users spoke out against the bill…” said the EFF’s activism director, Rainy Reitman. “We will not stand idly by as the basic freedoms to read and speak online without the shadow of government surveillance are endangered by such overbroad legislative proposals.”

Prior to passage, Congress adopted a few amendments to the bill to improve CISPA’s privacy and civil liberty protections. But CDT said that the House moved the bill through passage without addressing concerns raised by privacy advocates and the Obama Administration. As Threatpost reported yesterday, the Administration expressed concern that CISPA granted private firms too free a hand in sharing information about their customer with the government and law enforcement. 

The American Civil Liberties was displeased as well, saying that the bill “goes too far for little reason” and expressing concern that “once the government gets expansive national security authorities, there’s no going back.”

With House passage, the stage is set for the U.S. Senate to battle it out over CISPA. Even with passage there, CISPA might face a veto should reach the Oval Office. The president’s senior advisers said they would recommend that he veto the bill, according to an Obama Administration statement released on Wednesday.

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  • Anonymous on

    America, land of freedom, is now turning into China, all because they choose not to employ methods to ensure secure computing systems. It's not like the government doesn't already harvest everything anyway, they always did that. It's just now they can corporations to cooperate with all and it's legal, nobody can get sued for breeching people's personal privacy. The real problem with America is it's dumbing down, Al Bundy family style. They are attempting to fix the problem from the bottom up and shore things up by trying to spy on everyone hoping to catch the bad guys, some they can't even reach, when they should be focusing on employing new systems from the top down that make using computers safer for everyone. Microsoft and now even Apple have become lazy and utterly stupid, they don't even know it.
  • Anonymous on

    True. All Governments are corrupt.

  • Tinman57 on

      Since when does the government listen to experts or the public?  They have their own agenda.  This is just another step in our government's venture to a complete police state.  Soon the sheeple will be "comrades" like the former Russian communist were and all the apethetic Americans will go out with a whimper.....

  • Anonymous on

    The US government doesn't want control of the internet to spy on the US. It wants control of the government to control ALL internet for ALL countries. This is more than just an American matter and all countries are looking to see what it is that the US does.
  • Anonymous on

    Collaboration between the private sector and law enforcement is appropriate to deal with cyber threats, but CISPA strikes down essential protections to personal liberty such as due process requirements for wiretap.  It is simply not necessary to trade in personal privacy to solve an IT problem.

    SOPA, PIPA and now CISPA... represent an eye popping assault on the US Constitution.  I urge all concerned citizens to conatct their congressional represetnatives and express disapproval.

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