Overshadowed by congressional action on gun control, immigration, and the Boston bombings was an Internet privacy bill that will affect most Americans, without them knowing it, on a daily basis.
Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (or CISPA) is making its way through Congress with the House passing the Act last Thursday. The final vote in the House was 248-168, as 42 Democrats voted for the bill, while 28 Republicans voted against it.
It still needs Senate approval, and President Barack Obama has indicated he’ll possibly veto CISPA if it comes to his desk.
Both sides of Congress would need to muster a two-thirds majority vote to override the president’s veto, which would seem unlikely in the current political atmosphere of Washington.
At the heart of CISPA is a Fourth Amendment issue which reads:
“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
CISPA is designed to let the federal government work with private companies to fight hackers and cyber-criminals in and outside of the United States. As part of the effort to detect cyber threats, private companies could voluntarily share with the government data about Internet users.
As could be predicted, the lobbying firms for CISPA representing corporations who would profit from this legislation outspent those opposing CISPA 140-1.
The US House passed a cyber security bill giving US intelligence agencies the ability to access internet users’ private information.