US passes controversial cybersecurity bill

27.04.2012 | 16:05
The officials approved the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act with a vote of 248-168, despite threats of a veto from the White House, and widespread condemnation from privacy watchdogs.

According to critics, such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation, CISPA “would let companies bypass all existing privacy laws, spying on online communications and handing that data to the Government without a judge or jury ever getting involved”.

The legislation, which some believe is aimed at piracy as much as hackers and cybercriminals, now passes to the senate, with opponents calling for more action of the sort that saw the similarly unpopular SOPA bill shelved.

"As the Senate takes up the issue of cybersecurity in the coming weeks, civil liberties will be a central issue,” said Lee Tien, EFF senior staff attorney. “We must do everything within our power to safeguard the privacy rights of individual internet users and ensure that Congress does not sacrifice those rights in a rush to pass vaguely-worded cybersecurity bills."

The American Civil Liberties Union called for the "Senate to let this horrible bill fade into obscurity".

The proposed law has come under fire for having the potential to cover more than its intended cybersecurity remit, and it's not only rights groups that have criticised its scope, with the White House earlier this week saying President Obama would veto the law as it stood.

“It fails to ensure that the nation's core critical infrastructure is protected while repealing important provisions of electronic surveillance law without instituting corresponding privacy, confidentiality, and civil liberties safeguards,” the White House said in a statement.

“For example, the bill would allow broad sharing of information with governmental entities without establishing requirements for both industry and the Government to minimise and protect personally identifiable information.”

By Stewart Mitchell
House of Representatives, CISPA, cyber security, bill
Source PC Pro

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