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article imageOp-Ed: CISPA is coming back again in the US Senate

By Ken Hanly     Oct 21, 2013 in Internet
Washington - The National Security Agency director Keith Alexander is pushing for the introduction of a revised version of the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act to be introduced into the US Senate.
Two previous versions of CISPA died in Congress but a third version passed in the house earlier this year is getting support from some Senators who are being encouraged also by NSA officials. The bill is supposedly designed to protect US commerce from cyber attacks, but it also enables companies and government agencies to share information including the content and personal information attached to emails. According to Wikipedia CISPA: ".. would allow for the sharing of Internet traffic information between the U.S. government and technology and manufacturing companies. The stated aim of the bill is to help the U.S government investigate cyber threats and ensure the security of networks against cyberattacks."
Senate Intelligence Committee chair Senator Dianne Feinstein a Democrat from California, and Saxby Chambliss a Republican from Georgia will present a Senate version of CISPA. Privacy advocates are not pleased to see the bill resurrected once again. CISPA was originally introduced by Representative Mike Rogers a Michigan Republican back in 2011. Michelle Richardson a legislative counsel with American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) claimed: “This summer has confirmed that any information that goes into the NSA will be shrouded by secrecy and there will be no oversight. Since this is a domestic issue, the NSA is more likely to get involved…and companies haven’t provided concrete examples that they even need this legislation, especially when it’s this broad.”
The bill that passed the house was not introduced in the Senate because of the Snowden revelations about NSA spying: "CISPA supporters, among them big US companies such as Verizon and Comcast, spent 140 times more money on lobbying for the bill than its opponents, according to the Sunlight Foundation. But after Snowden's leaks, public panic over how and why the government uses personal information effectively killed the bill. "
While there is still plenty of controversy about US spying on Brazil, France, and Mexico, apparently the dust has settled enough in the US to do what the big corporations and government want in the US Congress. Mark Jaycox, a policy analyst at the Electronic Frontier Foundation says:"CISPA would've allowed NSA to get its hands on even more private and sensitive data," Feinstein says that the new Senate bill has tightened up the regulations but the final text is not available yet.
Richard Bejtlich, the chief security officer for Mandiant a company offering cybersecurity services for many corporations said: "I think it will be very difficult to move information-sharing legislation forward given the events of the last several months. It would have been complicated to pass a bill before the leak and nows it's even harder". Richardson of the ACLU agrees but: "That being said, I think we need to keep a very careful eye on it to make sure a deal isn't struck in the Senate. Sometimes these things suddenly start moving."
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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