CISPA was unveiled late 2011 by Rep. C.A. Ruppersberger (D-MD) And Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI) and is descriped as a cybersecurity bill that defines “cyber threat intelligence” as any information related to the vulnerabilities of, or threats to, networks or systems owned and operated by US government or US companies. CISPA will remove any liability from private companies who collect and share information with the government, or with each other, related to sharing of “cyber threat intelligence”.
CISPA currently has a lot more support in the House than SOPA ever had, it has 106 co-sponsors and it also has support from major companies such as Facebook, AT&T, IBM and Intel.
The bill itself is probably not that bad, the problem is its “broad language” which opens up for a very loose interpretation of the bill, in ways that very likely could infringe on civil liberties.
Here’s how Center for Democracy & Technology sums it up:
- The bill has a very broad, almost unlimited definition of the information that can be shared with government agencies notwithstanding privacy and other laws;
- The bill is likely to lead to expansion of the government’s role in the monitoring of private communications as a result of this sharing;
- It is likely to shift control of government cybersecurity efforts from civilian agencies to the military;
- Once the information is shared with the government, it wouldn’t have to be used for cybersecurity, but could instead be used for any purpose that is not specifically prohibited.
There are almost no restrictions on what data can be collected and how it can be used. For example, Google could intercept your e-mails and send copies to other companies and/or the government, or they could modify your e-mail to avoid it reaching its destination, if it fits into their plan to “stop cybersecurity threats”.
Buckle up, because it’s only a matter of short time before the Internet will start boiling again, like with SOPA/PIPA, as CISPA gets more and more news coverage and people once again understand that their civil rights are about to be challenged. Some day I’m sure a similar bill will pass, but hopefully it will be one that is properly defined, and not CISPA.