CISPA bill to be voted on in the US House this week

Earlier this year, there were huge online and real-world protests in the US and abroad against the planned Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA). Many people, including tech companies such as Microsoft, said that the two bills in the US Congress were huge online privacy threats, claiming that the wording of the bills would allow the US Government to shut down any website, for little to no reason.

After the protests caused many in Congress to change their stance on SOPA and PIPA, both bills were tabled indefinitely. This week, another bill, the The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, or CISPA, is scheduled to come up for a vote in the US House of Representatives.

As we have reported before, CISPA is supposed to fight cyber terrorism by allowing businesses to share any kind of cyber threat they may have heard about with other business as well as the US Government. The key difference between CISPA and the defunct SOPA/PIPA bills is that CISPA has support from a number of tech companies, including Microsoft, Intel, Facebook and others.

Even with tech industry support, other advocacy groups don't care for CISPA. The Electronic Frontier Foundation's Activism Director Rainey Reitman stated last week:

CISPA would allow ISPs, social networking sites, and anyone else handling Internet communications to monitor users and pass information to the government without any judicial oversight. The language of this bill is dangerously vague, so that personal online activity –- from the mundane to the intimate -– could be implicated.

So far, no one is calling for thousands of web sites to go dark this week to protest CISPA as they did with SOPA and PIPA. However the Technology page of Reddit is currently full of CISPA-based news links, showing that there is a growing number of protests against the bill.

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