Friday, April 27, 2012

House Passes CISPA in Surprise Vote; Opponents Will Continue to Fight in Senate

The House passed the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) in a surprise vote late Thursday despite a veto threat from the White House and opposition from civil liberties groups that say the bill undermines existing privacy law and would allow private companies to spy on American citizens.

The House passed CISPA by a vote of 248 to 168, with votes for and against coming in from both parties. A vote was expected on Friday, but the House came to a vote soon after debating the bill. The Senate will now consider the bill.

CISPA is designed to break down barriers between the government and private business and allow for open sharing of intelligence on cyber threats, such as foreign hackers. Big tech and web firms, including Facebook, AT&T and IBM, support CISPA and hope the government will provide them more information on cyber threats.

Civil liberties and Internet freedom groups such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the ACLU claim the bill goes too far and would allow private companies and the government to circumvent existing privacy laws that prevent domestic spying and allow big web firms to hand over private data and information, such as emails, to the Department of Homeland Security and other agencies. The ACLU and the EFF say they will continue to oppose the bill in the Senate.  READ MORE

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