The Senate Shelves CISPA


Nearly a week after the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed the controversial legislation, it appears that the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act — commonly known as CISPA — has been shelved, at least for now. Citing Internet privacy concerns, the Senate will not take up the bill, but will instead work on new legislation that addresses cyber attacks on the United States:

The Senate will not vote on a cybersecurity bill that passed the House earlier this month, according to two Senate staffers, dealing a blow to a measure that sparked opposition from privacy advocates and the White House.
Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V.), who is chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee, “believes that information sharing is a key component of cybersecurity legislation, but the Senate will not take up CISPA,” a committee staffer told HuffPost.

A staffer for the Senate Intelligence Committee said the committee also is working on an information-sharing bill and will not take up CISPA.

“We are currently drafting a bipartisan information sharing bill and will proceed as soon as we come to an agreement,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said in a statement Thursday.

The White House had already issued a veto threat on CISPA, citing privacy concerns, as ironic as that sounds given some of the things this administration has pushed. This is also quite similar to what happened last year when the House passed CISPA and it was killed by the Senate.

Nevertheless, this is a win, depending on what the Senate ultimately comes up with as the move on from CISPA. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) hailed the death of CISPA, noting that the bill was “too controversial, it’s too expansive, it’s just not the same sort of program contemplated by the Senate last year.”

While most agree that more needs to be done to protect the United States from hackers and other cyber threat, it needs to be done in a way that ensures Internet privacy. The bill, as currently, simply doesn’t go far enough to that end. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) recently noted that CISPA gives immunity to companies that improperly share data with the government. An open letter from academics, engineers, and professionals to lawmakers noted that CISPA “uses vague language to describe network security attacks, threat indicators, and countermeasures, allowing for the possibility that innocuous online activities could be construed as ‘cybersecurity’ threats” and exempts certain laws that protect Internet privacy.

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