The U.S. House of Representatives has passed a cyberthreatinformation-sharing bill that critics say will give U.S. governmentagencies access to the private communications of millions ofInternet users. The House late Thursday voted 248-168 to pass an amended version ofthe Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act , or CISPA, even though the White House Office of Management andBudget has recommended that President Barack Obama veto the bill.
[ Also on InfoWorld: Find out why Robert X. Cringely says CISPA is even worse than SOPA . | Stay ahead of the key tech business news with InfoWorld’s Today’s Headlines: First Look newsletter . | Read Bill Snyder’s Tech’s Bottom Line blog for what the key business trends mean to you. ] Civil liberties groups, including the Center for Democracy andTechnology and the American Civil Liberties Union, have opposed thebill, saying it would open up Internet communications to snoopingby government agencies, including the U.S.
National SecurityAgency. But supporters argued the bill is needed to help private companiesand government agencies fight cyber attacks. “There are peopletoday who are literally robbing the future of America” by attackingU.S. companies, said Rep. Caterpillar Scanner
Mike Rogers, a Michigan Republican andlead sponsor of CISPA. “This is the one small thing we get to do toprepare for a bunch of folks who want to bring us down.” CISPA now moves to the Senate. CISPA would allow companies such as broadband providers to sharecustomer communications related to cyber threats with a wide rangeof government agencies. The bill exempts private companies thatshare cyber threat information in “good faith” from customerlawsuits. But the CDT and other opponents of the bill questioned whether theinformation sharing from private companies to government agencieswould be truly voluntary, when many telecom providers bid ongovernment contracts. China RGB Led Remote Control
“In an effort to foster information sharing, this bill would erodethe privacy protections of every single American using theInternet,” said Rep. Bennie Thompson, a Mississippi Democrat. “Itwould create a Wild West of information sharing, where anycertified business can share with any government agency, who canthen use the information for any national security purpose, andgrant that business immunity from virtually any liability.” CISPA would allow companies to share private and sensitiveinformation with government agencies without a warrant and withoutproper oversight, the ACLU said in a statement. “CISPA goes too far for little reason,” Michelle Richardson, ACLUlegislative counsel, said in a statement. Motorcycle Transponder Key
“Cyber security does nothave to mean abdication of Americans’ online privacy. As we’ve seenrepeatedly, once the government gets expansive national securityauthorities, there’s no going back.” CISPA has support from several tech companies and trade groups,including Facebook, Microsoft, AT&T, TechAmerica, and CTIA. Foryears, tech companies have complained about legal hurdles tosharing cyber threat information with each other and with thegovernment. The House vote was a “critical step forward” for the cybersecurityof the United States, Shawn Osborne, TechAmerica’s president andCEO, said in a statement. Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S.government for The IDG News Service.
Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant’s email address firstname.lastname@example.org.