The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, or CISPA, is either a welcome resource in preventing cyber attacks or a troubling invasion of privacy, depending who you ask. The bill passed overwhelmingly in the House Intelligence Committee and appeared to be headed for easy passage in the House.
Criticism of the bill is beginning to mount as several free speech and civil liberties groups are lining up against CISPA and encouraging their supporters to do the same by contacting their representatives in Congress, taking their concerns to Twitter, and generally being noisy about their concerns.
So what would CISPA actually do? “The intention of CISPA is to make it easier for companies to share information about cyber threats,” says Jennifer Martinez of Politico.com. “So that companies and the intelligence community can be more proactive about combating cyber attacks or theft of trade secrets.”
So the feds have information about a potential attack on a company, they can share that with the company. Companies aren't required to share with the government but they can choose to. That’s the part that’s causing a lot of worry. Here's what worries Kendall Burman, senior research fellow at the Center for Democracy and Technology: “The potential for your Internet service provider or other companies that you interact with to monitor and collect information that they believe meets CISPA's very broad definition of a cybersecurity threat and then send out information to anyone in government, including the National Security Agency.”
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