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Monday, June 18, 2012

CISPA Might Be Delayed

The Internet Defense League wants to postpone CISPA – a bill believed to be the largest threat to the web ever – because of the general elections to come. The Internet Defence League is the outfit engaged in protecting the Internet users from the laws regarded as the threat to the web itself, and their eye fell on CISPA.

The experts expressed different drawbacks of the bill, saying that it reversed privacy laws. For instance, many were against the “Information Sharing” provisions in the bill, which would nullify decades of consumer privacy legislation and grant legal immunity for the entities to share personal data of all Internet users with the federal government. Such legal immunity can then be used to pressure the organizations into a program of wholesale user-data sharing with the authorities. If the companies did it when it was illegal, they will do it even more willingly with preemptive legal immunity.

In addition, the suggested legislation removes protections for non-suspects, establishing “affirmative authority to monitor and defend against cybersecurity threats”. Nevertheless, sharing cybersecurity threat data is already legal, if the parties involved follow basic legal guidelines for protecting the privacy of non-suspects. CISPA removes those protections in case of a “reasonable belief” that the data is indicative of a broadly-defined cybersecurity threat.

CISPA also removes limits on inter-agency sharing. If earlier personal data could only be shared with the Department of Homeland Security, now the latter isn’t prevented from sharing the data with other government and military agencies.

Finally, the bill violates net neutrality principles, because it grants Internet service providers the right to block traffic if they suspect actions leading to a breach of any information system.

The Internet Defence League has already sent the statement to its supporters in order to raise a call to action in light of the bill’s new and ongoing delays. The matter is that in just 7 weeks Congress will shut down, election season starts, and the clock runs out for the suggested bill. Meanwhile, the fact that Congress postponed the vote may mean that they simply didn’t get enough “yes” votes.

Although the chances for the bill to be postponed until the elections pass aren’t very big, the Internet users should adopt a positive view – remember that other bills were usually shelved when the election season started.

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