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CISPA sails through Congress

18 Apr 2013
Capitol Hill

The US House of Representatives have passed the updated Cybersecurity Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) by a large majority.

Bill co-author congressman Mike Rogers touted the 288 to 127 vote as a show of bipartisan support.

But civil rights advocates decried the vote, accusing Congress of failing to protect its citizens' privacy. 

Following CISPA passing in Congress the Senate will vote on the bill later this year.

"I am very proud that so many of my colleagues were able to look past the distortions and fear mongering about this bill, and see it for what it really is - a very narrow and focused authority to share cybersecurity threat information to keep America safe," said Rogers on behalf of the House Intelligence Committee.

"I look forward to working with my Senate colleagues to get cyber threat information sharing legislation passed into law this year."

CISPA saw cross-party support during the Congressional vote. Both democrats and republicans in the House supported the bill, despite criticism of the bill from the internet community.

Last year, CISPA opponents began to complain about the bills vague language. CISPA originally failed to get through the Senate because of a veto threat from the White House.

Following the bills failure to get through the Senate, the House Intelligence Committee revamped the bill by offering concessions for privacy advocates. However, many advocates say the bill still fails to do enough to quell fears of an invasion of the public's privacy.

Advocates like the Electronic Frontier Foundations (EFF) say the bills vague language has the potential to undermine privacy. They cite CISPA's ability to undercut current wiretapping laws as a key stumbling block for the bills passage.

"This bill undermines the privacy of millions of internet users," said EFF activism director Rainey Reitman in a statement.

"Hundreds of thousands of internet users opposed this bill, joining the White House and internet security experts in voicing concerns about the civil liberties ramifications of CISPA. We're committed to taking this fight to the Senate and fighting to ensure no law which would be so detrimental to online privacy is passed on our watch."

The revised CISPA bill now faces the uphill battle of getting passed in the Senate. Following another White House veto threat, many have questioned whether the bill would be accepted by US Senators.

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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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