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The President is threatening to veto the bill if it makes it pass the House and Senate

H.R. 3523 -- or the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), as it's better known -- is a pretty interesting piece of legislation.  

Proponents of the bill -- an amendment to the National Security Act of 1947 [PDF] -- claim the bill is vital as it allows private entities to share information on cybersecurity threats with the U.S. government.  This could help protect the private sector against attacks from both malicious rogues and hostile nation states like China.  

Supporters include Facebook, Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), Intel Corp. (INTC), International Business Machines Inc. (IBM), Oracle Corp. (ORCL), AT&T (T), and Verizon Wireless (VZ).

The bill has overwhelming support in the Republican-controlled U.S. House of Representatives with 111 co-sponsors.  It was first introduced by Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI) in Nov. 2011, and promises that participation would be purely voluntary.

But the bill also has some high profile opponents.  While President Barack Obama (D) has in the past pushed for increased online surveillance of U.S. citizens and immunity for telecoms participating in government wiretapping efforts, curiously his administration reacted strongly to supposed privacy risks the bill raises.

And in the strange bedfellows department, the President is joined by his usual critic Rep. Ron Paul (R-TX).  Rep. Paul called the bill "Big Brother writ large."

Ron Paul and Obama
Rep. Ron Paul (left) (R-TX) and President Barack Obama (right) (D) found a rare moment of agreement in opposing a new cybersecurity bill.
[Image Sources: AP Photo (left); Reuters (right)]

President Obama has threatened to veto the measure if passes the House and Senate. 

"[T]he bill would allow broad sharing of information with governmental entities without establishing requirements for both industry and the Government to minimize and protect personally identifiable information," he complains in a letter, "[It] lacks sufficient limitations on the sharing of personally identifiable information between private entities and does not contain adequate oversight or accountability measures necessary to ensure that the data is used only for appropriate purposes."

One controversial aspect of the bill is that it would grant corporations who share personally identifiable information wtih the government immunity from lawsuits.

But where Rep. Paul and the POTUS may diverge in their criticisms is in their opinion of what to do.  Rep. Paul would like to see the measure scrapped entirely.  By contrast President Obama is lobbying for the removal of the corporate immunity provision.  But he's also pushing for the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to oversee the program, potentially handing it a host of private personal information on U.S. citizens -- a idea which would surely make Rep. Paul cringe.

Homeland Security
President Obama wants to change the bill to pass the info through the Department of Homeland Security, which could lead to even worse privacy concerns [Image Source: CyTalk]

While some call the bill "worse than SOPA", the President's proposed changes could in theory make it more Orwellian in some ways, even as he removes other unpopular measures.  In that regard it's hard to separate the fact from political rhetoric and see who -- if anyone -- is interested in protecting the privacy of the American people.

Sources: The White House [PDF], The Guardian (Ron Paul comments)



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RE: I called my representatives
By Dr of crap on 4/26/2012 3:52:54 PM , Rating: 5
And you think they care what you think?

Maybe if you greased their palm with a few hundred thousand...


RE: I called my representatives
By tayb on 4/26/2012 3:58:38 PM , Rating: 5
The quick retreat on SOPA/PIPA makes me believe they do. Congress pays more attention to constituents phone calls than any other form of communication because they know people who will pick up the phone and call are the same people who will go out and vote. It's easy to email and it's easy to sign a petition.


RE: I called my representatives
By TSS on 4/27/2012 6:21:10 PM , Rating: 1
Call me a cynic, but i belive they listen to the news, not the people. There was a large outcry yes, but that outcry was also widely covered. Don't forget how far SOPA got before the outcry became loud. It's not like there wheren't any protesters before that.

Protests fueled news coverage which fueled more protests and so on.

Now don't get me wrong, i do think protesting is important. I'm just saying politicians aren't as quick to listen when there is something else on the news.

Go ahead. Call your representative, and ask them what they think of the fact that it took obama from november 4th to januari 20th to transition into president, while geithner is saying the national debt will hit the debt ceiling after the elections, but within this calender year. So probably in a full transitional period. And this time with debt to GDP at 100%+, so you'll need to cut more.

Did i mention a bipartisan supercommitee took 3 months, then still failed? because of which automatic cuts are still supposed to go into effect on januari 1st 2013, unless congress and the president do something about it. And that failed on a amount of $1.2 trillion over a decade while running a $1.2+ trillion deficit a year.

Maybe you should vote republican because if theres a divided house and senate when that shitstorm hits it might just be the big one. I mean it's going to be shit either way, but that might buy you a few months....


RE: I called my representatives
By Vinny141 on 4/26/2012 3:52:36 PM , Rating: 3
they only care about getting re-elected.

if enough people come forward and show their dislike about a certain topic, they will change there tune.

but youre, right who cares anyway. best not to get involved.


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