CISPA – Dangerous Even After Amendments!

At last, CISPA has passed on Thursday 26th April 2012! And it passed in face of a threat from the White House of a veto! Several civil rights groups have decided to strengthen the protests against the bill as the debate is still on in the senate.

Background

CISPA stands for Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act. It was introduced on 30th November 2011 by the US Representative, Michael Rogers and 111 other co-sponsors. The bill gave rise to many questions and President Barack Obama warned on Wednesday to veto the bill.

CISPA bill would let chosen sharing of attack and threat information between the Government of USA and manufacturing companies which have cleared security, in order to ascertain the safety of networks against modes of attack. This means that the law would let the government to pass on cyber threat information to a company to stop attacks from a foreign country. And in the private sector, companies could caution the government and supply data which could prevent an attack meant to destroy the nation’s water supply or take charge of banking system.

Condemnation of Supporters of Internet Privacy

CISPA is being condemned by supporters of internet privacy and neutrality. Electronic Frontier Foundation and Avaaz.org is also amongst them. They condemn the bill because in their opinion, the bill contains very few restrictions on how and when the Government would check private information. There are also not many safeguards regarding how the data would be used. Therefore there is a danger to file sharers and copyright infringers getting punishments rather than real foreign spies and hackers. As per the opponents, the bill is vaguely worded and so will let the government agencies freely access business as well as private communication on the web.

According to the opponents the legislation would offer ISPs and other companies on the web too much of freedom to collect and share all types of user information with the government. And also it cannot be predicted how the government agencies would use the data.

Argument of Supporters

The supporters on the other hand are arguing that the bill strikes down all the barriers to cyber threat data sharing. Rogers said that it is not possible to just stand and watch as US companies are bleeding from the cyber pillaging by countries like Russia and China.

However groups like EFF, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) opine that CISPA is a dangerous risk to online privacy even after the amendments.

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