Archive for April 2012

Battle Over New Cybersecurity Bill Breaks Out

The adage “never discuss politics” has never applied much to the Web.

But on Friday, political discussion surrounding a new cybersecurity bill turned into an all out messaging war between the bill’s critics and its backers.

The bill, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act or CISPA, for short, seeks to allow the government and private companies to share more information, including customer information, about perceived national cybersecurity threats.

Introduced on November 30, 2011 by co-sponsors Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI) and Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD), CISPA has since received the backing of a total 111 lawmakers among both parties and upwards of 800 companies in the private sector, including Web heavyweights Google and Facebook.

And yet, with the bill scheduled to be voted upon by the House the week of April 23, fierce opposition has mounted.

Web freedom and consumer advocacy groups, writers and other media outlets have drawn parallels between CISPA and another, older lightning-rod of a bill, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), which sought to fight online piracy by forcing U.S. websites to break internet links and financial ties to foreign websites accused of copyright infringement.

From TPM IdeaLab at

Just to be clear: CISPA is not SOPA

SOPA did not generate much support amongst the masses. CISPA is different. Facebook, Microsoft, Oracle, IBM, Intel, AT&T, Verizon have already sent letters to congress voicing support for CISPA. And that should come as no surprise. Whereas SOPA and PIPA were bad for many companies that do business on the Internet, and burdened them with the unholy task of policing the Web (or facing repercussions if they didn’t), this bill makes life easier for them; it removes regulations and the risk of getting sued for handing over our information to The Law.


The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) is starting through Congress

CISPA is about companies and the government sharing information. CISPA places no explicit limits on the type of information that may be shared with the government, or between private companies, as long as it is somehow related to cyber threats. This could result in the government blocking access to websites on the basis of copyright infringement, or sites like Wikileaks under the guise of national security.

Text of the bill at