Controversial cybersecurity bill passes House despite Obama veto threat

Josh Peterson | Tech Editor

Despite a veto threat from the White House, the House of Representatives voted to pass the controversial Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) on Thursday by a 248-168 margin.

CISPA would encourage cyber-threat information sharing between private companies and government agencies

Facebook and other tech companies, and various business groups support the bill. Civil and digital liberties groups have raised objections, however, over whether the bill would expand government surveillance of private citizens.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation issued a condemnation of the House for its vote, and pledged to continue its fight against the legislation in the Senate.

“Hundreds of thousands of Internet users spoke out against this bill, and their numbers will only grow as we move this debate to the Senate,” said EFF activism director Rainey Reitman in a statement issued after the House vote.

“We will not stand idly by as the basic freedoms to read and speak online without the shadow of government surveillance are endangered by such overbroad legislative proposals.”

CISPA will next move on to the Senate, which already has its own cybersecurity bill — the Cybersecurity Act of 2012.

Nicknamed the Lieberman/Collins bill and championed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, it would give the Department of Homeland Security the authority to regulate cybersecurity on networks considered to be part of the nation’s critical infrastructure.

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Tags : cispa civil liberties cybersecurity house of representatives privacy
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