US House of Reps shamefully passes CISPA; Internet freedom advocates prepare for battle in the Senate
April 18, 2013
Today, Internet freedom advocates everywhere turned their eyes to the U.S. House of Representatives as that legislative body considered the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act.
For the second year in a row, the House voted to approve CISPA, a bill that would allow companies to bypass all existing privacy law to spy on communications and pass sensitive user data to the government. Electronic Frontier Foundation condemns the vote in the House and vows to continue the fight in the Senate.
"CISPA is a poorly drafted bill that would provide a gaping exception to bedrock privacy law,” EFF Senior Staff Attorney Kurt Opsahl said. “While we all agree that our nation needs to address pressing Internet security issues, this bill sacrifices online privacy while failing to take common-sense steps to improve security."
The legislation passed 288-127, despite a veto threat from Pres. Barack Obama, who expressed serious concerns about the danger CISPA poses to civil liberties.
"This bill undermines the privacy of millions of Internet users,” said Rainey Reitman, Electronic Frontier Foundation Activism Director. “Hundreds of thousands of Internet users opposed this bill, joining the White House and Internet security experts in voicing concerns about the civil liberties ramifications of CISPA. We’re committed to taking this fight to the Senate and fighting to ensure no law which would be so detrimental to online privacy is passed on our watch.”
Late Internet activist Aaron Swartz called CISPA the Patriot Act of the Internet, saying, “It’s an incredibly broad and dangerous bill. The thing about this bill is it doesn’t really have any protections against cyber threats. All it does is make people share their information. But that’s not going to solve the problem. What’s going to solve the problem is actual security measures, protecting the service in the first place, not spying on people after the fact.”