The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, or CISPA, has passed the House of Representatives and is heading for the Senate where it faces an uphill battle. The bill has internet privacy rights advocates, civil liberties and libertarian groups lining up against it. It would allow the government and the private sector to share information back and forth in an effort to stop a cyber attack, bring down child pornographers and for general cyber security.
Detractors say the bill is so broad and so vague that it essentially allows the government unprecedented access to the private information of every American internet user and trumps all existing privacy rights laws. In the words of Colorado Democrat Jared Polis, a former web entrepreneur, the bill “goes against every principal this country was founded on.” Business groups are applauding the bill’s passage however, and urging the Senate to move it along to the president’s desk.
The Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA), the trade group that represents big tech companies like Apple, Dell and Intel, says CISPA provides measures to protect consumers and businesses from cyber attack without sacrificing flexibility and innovation.
What exactly will the legislation do? And which is it? An important tool for the government and high-tech companies to protect the nation from cyber-terrorists and other criminals? Or, an unprecedented attack on privacy rights and civil liberties? Everyone agrees we need comprehensive legislation on cyber-security, but is CISPA the best bill for the job? Does it have any chance in the Senate where other cyber-security bills have languished for years?
Declan McCullagh, Chief Political Correspondent, CNET News; writes the "Politech" blog at Politechbot dot com (Oldest tech and politics on the web, launched in 1994!)
Danielle Coffey, Vice President for Government Affairs, Telecommunications Industry Association (TIA). The leading association representing manufactures and suppliers of high-tech global communications networks.
Rainey Reitman, Activism Director, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)