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Social Media Forces Gather to Kill Another Online Bill

A House cybersecurity bill, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), is the target of the same social media forces that defeated the Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA, earlier this year, The Hill newspaper reports. The publication notes that posts comparing CISPA to SOPA have reached Reddit’s front page after receiving thousands of up votes. Searches for the bill online reveal calls for action against it as well as online petitions, one of which has gathered 300,000 signatures.

About the Bill

CISPA is authored by Reps. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) and Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.). It has more than 100 co-sponsors and is expected to come to the House floor for a vote after April 23. A House aide told the Hill that the bill doesn’t have any controversial measures, or would grant authority to censor or block sites. It is meant to help companies protect themselves against cyber attacks by removing some regulations that prevent them from sharing such information.

"SOPA in Smaller Chunks"

Some in the tech community disagree. A poster on Slashdot calls CISPA Congress’ way of passing SOPA in smaller chunks. It "has vague definitions that could allow Congress to circumvent existing exemptions to online privacy laws and essentially monitor, censor and stop any online communication that it considers disruptive to the government or private parties,’” the person wrote. Digital Trends summarized several privacy advocates’ position on CISPA in a post here.

The Center for Democracy and Technology believes that the bill is likely to lead to expansion of the government’s role in the monitoring of private communications as a result of this sharing and is also likely to shift control of government cybersecurity efforts from civilian agencies to the military.

Electronic Frontier Foundation says that the bill’s definition of “cybersecurity” is so broad that “it leaves the door open to censor any speech that a company believes would ‘degrade the network.” On the other hand, Digital Trends notes that private companies say the bill will–as the sponsors say–make it easier to share cyber threat information.

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