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CISPA Coming Back: Cybersecurity Bill May Change Everything

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By Jeff Wilber on February 6, 2013

Remember the Internet blackouts over SOPA and PIPA last year?

Probably. What you might not remember is the other online legislation that nearly passed: the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act. After being approved by the House of Representatives, the Senate failed to pass CISPA in 2012 after similar protests of Internet users everywhere.

But CISPA’s authors, Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) and Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Awesome Name), made good on a promise and announced Wednesday that the bill will be reintroduced in 2013. Cue Ned Stark:

CISPA is coming

Unlike SOPA, this bill does not focus on the online pirating of music or videos found on torrent websites, but it instead offers corporate protection against foreign hackers stealing codes, formulas and patented information.

The concept of CISPA revolves around a sense of developing a security community among large technology companies like Facebook and Google. Essentially, the bill promotes companies to share information on cyberattacks with each other and the government. With companies like Facebook and sites that have endless amounts of personal information, the fear is that this would be a new step toward a legalized government invasion of privacy.

If you’re still confused about what CISPA is, or what it could mean for you, this is what we wrote last year when the bill was proposed:

Here’s how it’s dangerous: The language in the bill (read it here) is maddeningly imprecise. It limits the shared data to “cyber threats” or “national security” items only, but lacks any specific definitions or examples. “The ambiguities of these terms render these limits completely meaningless,” says Digital Trends, which notes that email or Facebook messages would be up for grabs. “And nothing in the bill requires companies to strip shared information of personally identifiable details.”

It’s unclear when this will come up for a vote in the House. But keep your eye on the acronym, and pay attention to who’s supporting it.

CISPA Passes House: Hey Ron Paul, Where Were You for the Vote?
CISPA: The Cybersecurity Bill That Could Change Your Life

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