Friday, April 27, 2012

SOPA Act Two? CISPA to be Decided in US House as Soon as Today

Remember the mess over SOPA in December and January? This proposed law had the potential for becoming "The Great Firewall of America," possibly meaning the end of favorite places online such as Youtube, Facebook, and Second Life. Despite a Congress seemingly poised to approve it, opposition to it and it's sister bill PIPA grew in numbers. The backers of SOPA eventually shelved it from a vote, and the opponents had seemingly won.

However, a new bill, H.R. 3523,  has made it through committee: the "Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act," or CISPA. Intended to "allow the voluntary sharing of attack and threat information between the U.S. government and security cleared technology and manufacturing companies to ensure the security of networks against patterns of attack," the bill "has been criticized by advocates of Internet privacy and neutrality, such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation … because they feel it contains too few limits on how and when the government may monitor private information when it might become collaterally entangled in the process of passing threat information, and too few safeguards with respect to how the data may be used; they fear that such new powers may be used to find and punish file sharers and copyright infringers rather than the stated foreign spies or hackers."

An article in describes opposition to the bill as mounting, "On Monday, a group of more than fifty professors, entrepreneurs and information security professionals published an open letter to Congress calling on lawmakers to oppose CISPA and other overbroad cybersecurity bills like the SECURE IT Act … CISPA has a very different focus from SOPA and PIPA, the much-loathed antipiracy bills killed by a similar groundswell of Internet anger in February. Whereas SOPA and PIPA raised fears of censorship, CISPA’s vague data-sharing statutes are largely seen as a threat to privacy, although some are also interpreting the bill as allowing site blocking. And whereas SOPA pitted Silicon Valley against Hollywood, CISPA seems to have the support of many technology and Web-based companies, including Facebook, Microsoft, Symantec, and IBM."

Tim Berners-Lee, the inventor of the Web, spoke last week the bill "is threatening the rights of people in America, and effectively rights everywhere." Senator Ron Paul spoke out against the bill, saying it would make "government spies of Facebook and Google." Eighteen House Representatives signed a letter opposing the bill, at least in its current form. The White House has also come out against CISPA. has a petition against the bill with three-quarters of a million signatures, with the goal of making it a million. Reddit has a number of "anti-CISPA discussions."

CISPA is expected to be voted on in the House of Represenatives today.

Sources: Wikipedia,, Electronic Frontier Foundation,, Reddit,

Bixyl Shuftan

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