What Is CISPA?

Posted Apr 8, 2012

It has not been too long since SOPA has been scrapped, but now we are hearing about a new law being proposed called the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA). Even though it has not received much attention in the media, they have gained a lot of support from legislators. CISPA was authored by Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) and Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.). There are over 100 co-sponsors of the bill, but critics are describing it as being worse than SOPA.

CISPA emphasizes ?theft or misappropriation of private or government information? four times throughout the bill. Under CISPA, Internet providers and companies would be expected to hand over user data to government agencies and other agencies upon request.

According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), CISPA ?would let companies spy on users and share private information with the federal government and other companies with near-total immunity from civil and criminal liability. It effectively creates a ?cybersecurity? exemption to all existing laws.?

The EFF is worried about the vague language in the bill. They are worried that companies like AT&T, Facebook, and Google could intercept e-mails and text messages, then send copies of them to the government. They could also essentially modify or prevent them from reaching their destination.

A House aide supporting the bill said that the definitions are broad so that Congress will not need to update the law every time a new technology emerges. The aide also said that the bill does not cover copyright infringement. “Some kid in the Dallas suburbs illegally downloading movies doesn’t come close to our definition,” said the House aide.