• House on CISPA: All Your Privacy Are Belong to Us

    Ignoring a veto threat from President Obama and opposition from some Senate Democrats, the House approved the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act by a vote of 248-168, with 42 Democrats joining Republicans in backing the measure, which would allow companies and the federal government to share otherwise-private information in an effort to prevent the cyber clogging of our Internet tubes.

    On the one hand, I feel safer already knowing our most electable geriatrics are drafting Internet regulations. On the other hand, privacy advocates are concerned CISPA preempts legislation that currently protects health records, gun records, tax records, census data and educational records, provides too broad an immunity to private firms who engage in sharing customer data, and — in an amendment overwhelmingly supported in the House — abrogates the limits on the purposes of information sharing

    Previously, CISPA allowed the government to use information for "cybersecurity" or "national security" purposes. Those purposes have not been limited or removed. Instead, three more valid uses have been added: investigation and prosecution of cybersecurity crime, protection of individuals, and protection of children. Cybersecurity crime is defined as any crime involving network disruption or hacking, plus any violation of the CFAA.

    True, securing data is a prerequisite for privacy, so perhaps companies need more leeway to share information on threats, but the bill as written does raise civil liberties concerns. Surely, the White House is on it

    Congressional leaders are determined to get a cybersecurity bill completed this election year but that may be difficult. The Obama administration and several leading Senate Democrats and Republicans want a bill that would give the Homeland Security Department the primary role in overseeing domestic cybersecurity and the authority to set security standards. The House bill would impose no new regulations on businesses, an imperative for Republicans.

    Oh, so the Obama administration opposes this bill because it doesn't give the federal government enough authority to oversee net security? I was going to write in and let them have a piece of my mind, but I'm feeling lazy, and given my browser history and the state of the 4th Amendment, I think the Feds already know how I feel.

    Photo by Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

    Tags: Barack Obama, Democrats, House of Representatives, Internet, Republicans


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