Update: CISPA Passed in House – What’s Next?
Earlier this week, we covered CISPA and why it’s CISP-icious (suspicious. Get it? Ah? …I’ll get back to writing). Well, the controversial bill was recently amended and passed by the House.
For a quick reminder about why CISPA is sparking the Internet’s ire, here’s what Mashable had to say about the subject:
Privacy and civil liberties groups argue that CISPA would allow businesses such as Facebook to give the federal government (and the intelligence community) users’ private communications and other sensitive personal data.
The two parts of CISPA these groups consider most offensive are a national security clause and a liability clause. The first, they say, would allow CISPA to be used in any case where national security is deemed at risk — a potentially broad category. The second would protect any business that shares cybersecurity information from lawsuits — including suits from users who think their private information may have been shared without justification.
CISPA was amended before it was passed, including amendments to tighten up the bill’s vague language, to restrict the type of information that can be shared with the government, and to give the Department of Homeland Security more oversight in the data-sharing process. However, opponents of CISPA aren’t sold and still feel as though the bill remains a threat to Internet users’ privacy.
Two things can happen now: either the Senate can vote CISPA up or down as it was passed in the House, or it can be amended further.
Privacy groups are advocating for the bill to be improved during the amendment process, which would force the House and Senate to reconcile the differences between the two versions of the bill. Upon successful reconciliation, the bill would be sent to President Obama for his signature into law.
Even if it’s sent to the White House, President Obama’s top advisors have recommended that he veto CISPA if it reaches his desk without adequate privacy protections.
So, for now – we wait and see what happens in the Senate.