CISPA, is a bill that would let websites hand over your personal data to the government with little oversight. It just passed in the U.S. House of Representatives.
The bill is still unabashedly a violation of your privacy rights—which means nearly anything you do or say online can be handed over to the government without so much as a warrant. CNET points out, one amendment was withdrawn before the proceedings that would have given the Department of Homeland Security sweeping and, more importantly, superseding authority.
The truly concerning parts of the bill is the ones that give the government the right to conduct surveillance on your internet consumption without your knowledge or permission. Its like a legal web wire tapping activity.
Having said that, we won't be surprised if this is already happening in certain countries where the Internet is tightly regulated. TechDirt observes:
Previously, CISPA allowed the government to use information for "cybersecurity" or "national security" purposes. Those purposes have not been limited or removed. Instead, three more valid uses have been added: investigation and prosecution of cybersecurity crime, protection of individuals, and protection of children. Cybersecurity crime is defined as any crime involving network disruption or hacking, plus any violation of the CFAA.
Quayle, who was also a co-sponsor of SOPA, effectively made it so that any suspicion of anything illegal on the Internet—not just the vague Chinese cyber warfare threats the bill had built its stature on—is enough for the government to go through your entire online life. Final Vote Results for Roll Call 192
Unlike SOPA, against which much of the tech community rallied, most internet heavyweights have expressed their support for CISPA. Some notables include:
CTIA - The Wireless Association
Cyber, Space & Intelligence Association
Independent Telephone & Telecommunications Alliance
Information Technology Industry Council
Internet Security Alliance
National Cable & Telecommunications Association
US Telecom - The Broadband Association
That's not the complete list though. Here are all the changes that were made to the bill today, including Quayle's odious amdenment:
Comparisons between SOPA and CISPA have been cropping up, and they're inevitable because they're both an uncomfortable and disquieting intersection of government and Internet.
Still, its important to note that the two are different. SOPA aimed to prosecute where CISPA aims to spy. CISPA has remained largely off the radar. Where tech giants stood up against SOPA, they've lined up to join the CISPA bandwagon.