19 April 2013 - 4:59pm | posted by | 0 comments

'Shameful' online bill gets through US House - but still faces a fight

ACLU: Against the BillACLU: Against the Bill

The Republican-dominated US House of Representatives has passed a controversial cyber security bill that would make it easier for companies and the government to share threat information.

That sounds harmless enough. But ZDNet points out that private firms would be able to search personal and sensitive user data of ordinary U.S. residents to identify "threat information." This can then be shared with other opt-in firms and the U.S. government — without the need for a court-ordered warrant.

Big companies back the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act known as Cispa: opponents say it sacrifices online privacy.

The vote was 288-127 in favour. Democrats were split on the measure with 92 voting for the bill, said Adweek.

Against the Bill were the American Civil Liberties Union , the Internet Defense League and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, who ran an online and Twitter campaign, claiming the bill fell short in protecting consumers' privacy.

The president had threatened to veto the bill but that wasn't enough to kill it . It had the support of tech and telecom companies like IBM, Google, Facebook, Microsoft and Apple. 

Cispa may well be blocked in the Senate, however. A similar bill passed the House last year, only to be stopped in the Senate.

The  Electronic Frontier Foundation House called the House vote "shameful," and promised continue to fight for changes. 

"While we 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, "EFF lawyer Kurt Opsahl told Adweek. 
 

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