A new piece of Internet legislation is pending in Congress and it promises not to be a SOPA or PIPA reiteration. The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) is supposed to let private Internet protection companies communicate more directly with the federal government to reduce vulnerability and enhance internet security, but the current administration seems to think this is a bad idea.
According to a recent statement, the president may attempt to axe the bill even if the House approves it due to concerns that the legislation’s wording may allow too much security surveillance and censorship of the online community. Currently the House is showing bipartisan support of the bill, acknowledging that the intent is security without occluding personal privacy, but verbiage surrounding intellectual property has left some on edge.
“The idea is to facilitate detection of and defense against a serious cyberthreat, but the definitions in the bill go well beyond that,” said Reiney Reitman, activism director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). “The language is so broad it could be used as a blunt instrument to attack websites.”
Of primary concern to the EFF are websites like WikiLeaks and the Pirate Bay, as well as other websites that harbor pirated information or serve as potentially irksome outlets of dissent for the government. Proponents for anti-piracy laws have taken up the bill’s defense, which concerns the foundation and led it to call on its members to protest its passage.
Congress has said it will try and rectify the threat of potential breaches in private information, already requesting amendments to clarify and revise parts of the bill. The legislation is also one of voluntary disclosure, meaning in its current format private businesses like Facebook and Twitter aren’t compelled to share security information, let alone encroach on personal privacy, even if no amendments are made before its passage.
“The government applies safety standards for cars, food, building structures and toys,” said Senator Joe Lieberman. “Why not do the same for the infrastructure that powers our economy?”
Meanwhile, the Obama administration has released a statement acknowledging the security issues incorporated with CISPA, saying it doesn’t support the bill due to what some call “cyber spying.” It goes on to state the bill doesn’t provide any safeguards to repealing the proposed amendments that have gained it support in congressional passage in the first place.
Some legislators are concerned that presidential disapproval and threats of stonewalling the bill could affect its passage in the House. A congressional statement was released in response the White House’s concerns, saying that these issues will also be covered in the revision process and that the current load of amendments has been approved in a bipartisan fashion. The House Intelligence Committee joined in saying that it to make provisions for privacy while improving Internet protection remained its primary goal.
Even if the bill is successful in passing in the House as it’s forecasted to be, there’s no indication that it will experience similar success in the Senate. A current bill is on the floor there that would require utilities and vital services companies to create their own cybersecurity systems for review by Homeland Security. While this bill has an information-sharing element similar to the bill in the House, it fails to enjoy anything like the same kind of bipartisan support that CISPA has.
Security News from SimplySecurity.com by Trend Micro