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CISPA Is Back: Bill Reintroduced In Congress

CISPAIt’s baaaaaack!

Congress has apparently raised the dead, because The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act – better known as CISPA – has been reintroduced in Congress, yet again, by Representative Mike Rogers, a Republican from Michigan’s 8th District.

CISPA was introduced in the 112th Congress (H.R. 3523) and passed the House of Representatives with 42 of the 190 Democrats voting AYE, and 206 of the 241 Republicans voting AYE – including some of the so-called “conservative” members expressing support, such as Michele Bachmann, Allen West, Jason Chaffetz, Steve King, and others.

This time, CISPA is known as H.R. 624.

So, what’s the problem with CISPA?

Michelle Richardson of TheHill.com outlined the problems last year:

There are numerous privacy problems with CISPA, which remain even if the five so-called privacy amendments orchestrated by the sponsors are adopted. First, the very definition of what can be shared is incredibly broad, and includes sensitive and private information such as the content of emails or a person’s Internet use history. Companies are not required to even make an effort to disentangle sensitive but unnecessary information from the technical and useful data that government might really need.

Sponsor of the CISPA bill, Congressman Mike Rogers (R-MI8)

Sponsor of the CISPA bill, Congressman Mike Rogers (R-MI8)

Second, the bill allows companies to choose which government agency to share the information with, including the National Security Agency or other element of the Department of Defense. It is a long-held American value that the military doesn’t operate on U.S. soil against Americans, and allowing the NSA and DOD to collect information on average Americans turns that value on its head. All domestic programs must be run by civilian agencies. And finally, CISPA offers few limitations on what can be done with the information that the government ultimately collects.

Even the Obama administration opposes the bill due in part to its privacy infringements. Yes, the administration that fought for the reauthorization of the Patriot Act and is now lobbying for an extension of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) Amendments Act has balked at CISPA. Those responsible for protecting our cybersecurity believe they can be effective with less collection authority, making this broad and intrusive new program not only horrible for privacy but totally unnecessary.

With this bill lurching back to life thanks to Rep. Rogers, who is the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, only time will tell if the activism from Americans will rise up and kill this bill ……again.

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