By Teresa Welsh |
The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, known as CISPA aims to address the threat of cybercrime aimed at U.S. companies and institutions by nefarious countries and groups. The bill, which is sponsored by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, a Michigan Republcian, allows private companies and the federal government to partner up and share information that would prevent treats to U.S. cybersecurity. It has the backing of many Internet companies, including Facebook, who protested the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA, a few months ago. However civil liberty activists and Internet freedom groups oppose the legislation as it is currently written, this week launching a “week of action” to protest the bill, which Congress could vote on as early as next week.
Proponents of the bill argue that the information that private companies share is completely voluntary and will only pertain to the threat of cybercrime. Furthermore, the language of the bill was refined to narrow the types of data being shared and even states that penalties could be imposed if the information collected is used for purposes “unrelated to cyberthreats.” However, opponents argue the language is still too vague and that CISPA gives the government unprecedented access to private information. They fear that private companies will feel pressure to give up information to the government and CISPA could create a new avenue for government surveillance on private citizens. Should Congress pass CISPA? Here is the Debate Club’s take.
Mike Rogers Chairman of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence