It took nearly the entire web, with strong retaliation from Google as well as Wikipedia, to put SOPA where it belonged – in the trash. However, hacks in the U.S. House of Representatives were not to be thwarted by this. And now, the House has passed the CISPA bill, tainted as a cybersecurity bill, with a vote of 248 to 268.
Although the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) has been touted by its proponents as something which primarily concerns the protection of privacy of companies online, it is quite the contrary that is being intended through this bill. This bill will lead to different U.S. companies sharing information with the U.S. government to thwart probable cyber attacks.
And by every measure of the definition of privacy rights, CISPA is a violation of it. The bill seeks to snoop the web and let the government gain access to the information of individuals, even if this information is stored with companies. Thus, it is understandable when Rep. Jared Polis, while criticizing the bill, said that it will ‘waive every single privacy law ever enacted in the name of cybersecurity. Allowing the military and NSA to spy on Americans on American soil goes against every principle this country was founded on.’
The good news are that while House of Representatives suddenly announced a rushed vote and had the bill passed, apparently too shy of the criticism it may encounter, the Senate is not likely to pass it. President Obama has been a vocal critic of it and had even threatened to veto it, saying that it ‘fails to provide authorities to ensure that the nation’s core critical infrastructure is protected while repealing important provisions.’
Those who are proposing the bill have merely one stupid reason to do so – that the bill is ‘needed to prepare for countries like Iran and North Korea so that they don’t do something catastrophic to our networks here in America.’ This is a pretty lame argument to encourage violation of all kinds of privacy rights of the users. By just changing names, surveillance still is surveillance and CISPA is merely a hashed up, better-faced version of SOPA, intended to keep a look at internet users and gain access to their information.