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White House expects to quash revised CISPA bill

17 Apr 2013

The White House has reported it will veto the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) for failing to address internet privacy concerns.

Officials said in a letter to the bill's authors that the revised Act has failed to correct the issues present in previous versions of CISPA. The White House's words are reiterated by a group of advocates and security experts who also sent an anti-CISPA letter to Congress.

"The administration still seeks additional improvements and if the bill, as currently crafted, were presented to the president, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill," wrote White House officials in the letter.

"The administration seeks to build upon the continuing dialogue with the [House Intelligence Committee] and stands ready to work with members of Congress to incorporate our core priorities to produce cybersecurity information sharing legislation that addresses these critical issues."

The Obama administration fears that the current draft of CISPA fails to implement proper protections for civilian's personal data. In its letter, the administration said that any approved version of CISPA must allow private industry to clear out personal user information from shared data.

CISPA aims to promote the sharing of data between private enterprise and the government. The bill enacts legislation which would allow companies to share data with the government without the fear of a lawsuit.

Many of CISPA's critics say the bill would compromise user's privacy by not creating proper oversight for the shared data.

In a recent letter to Congress, advocates and security experts slammed the bill for using vague terminology and giving complete immunity to companies that take part in data sharing.

"[CISPA will] nullify current legal protections against wiretapping and similar civil liberties violations for that kind of broad data sharing," read the letter to lawmakers.

"By encouraging the transfer of users' private communications to US Federal agencies, and lacking good public accountability or transparency, these 'cybersecurity' bills unnecessarily trade our civil liberties for the promise of improved network security. As experts in the field, we reject this false trade-off."

CISPA opponents had similar concerns late last year. The bill originally went to the Senate for a vote in 2012. That version of the bill failed to gain much traction because the White House threatened a similar veto.

This year's veto threat could also threaten the vote on the reworked version of CISPA. The bill is expected to reach the floor of the House of Representatives sometime this week.

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James Dohnert

James is a freelance writer and editor. In addition to ClickZ, his work has appeared in publications like V3, The Commonwealth Club,, and Shonen Jump magazine. He studied Journalism at Weber State University.

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