What it is
The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) is a proposed American law that would permit the sharing of Internet traffic information between the U.S. government and certain technology and manufacturing companies. The purpose of the bill is to help the U.S. government investigate cyber thread and ensure the security of networks against cyberattack.1
The legislation was introduced to the House of Representatives as H.R. 3523 by U.S. Representative Mike Rogers (R-MI) on 30 November 2011 and was passed on 26 April 2012 (248-168). It failed to become law when it did not pass the Senate in the same session. Representative Rogers reintroduced it to the House on 12 February 2013 as H.R. 624.1
Why you should care
tl;dr: Security! Privacy! If you think the security benefits outweigh the privacy concerns, you are pro. If you don’t, you are anti.
CISPA has had both bipartisan support and bipartisan dissent in the House of Representatives.2 Facebook and Microsoft initially supported the legislation, but have since backed away due to privacy concerns,3 and privacy concerns are the crux of the matter.
CISPA’s goal, to promote intelligence-sharing between private companies and government agencies, is laudable, however the bill is vague about what information on cyber-threats can be shared.4 Groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the American Civil Liberties Union want to see additional limits “on how and when the government may monitor a private individual’s internet browsing information. Additionally, they fear that such new powers could be used to spy on the general public rather than to pursue malicious hackers.”1
What you can do
The ACLU, along with other groups, launched the “Stop Cyber Spying Week” campaign this past Monday.
- Jaycox, Mark M., Kurt Opsahl, Rainey Reitman. (17 April 2013). “CISPA Goes to The Floor for a Vote, Privacy Amendments Blocked.”
- Lee, Timothy B. (16 April 2013). “Obama threatens CISPA veto, sponsor calls opponents basement-dwelling 14-year-olds.” Ars Technica.
- Wikipedia. (n.d.). “Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act.” Retrieved on 17 April 2013.
- Tsukayama, Hayley. (27 April 2012). “CISPA: Who’s for it, who’s against it and how it could affect you.” Retrieved on 17 April 2013.
- McCullagh, Declan. (14 March 2013). “Facebook unfriends CISPA cybersecurity bill over ‘privacy’” Retrieved on 17 April 2013.
- The Economist. (17 April 2013). “From SOPA to CISPA.” Retrieved on 17 April 2013.