Resistance against US cyber security act is growing
With the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) due to be brought to a vote in the US House of Representatives this Friday, eighteen Democrat representatives have voiced their concerns. Republican representative Ron Paul, who is standing as a candidate to represent his party at the presidential elections on 6 November 2012, also plans to vote against the act. "CISPA is the New SOPA", Paul wrote on his web site, referring to the hugely controversial Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).
"We should never underestimate the federal government’s insatiable desire to control the internet", he warned. The representative added that in all parties, persuasions and nationalities there are people who hate the free, unbridled flow of information, ideas and goods via the internet. "They continually seek to impose controls, always under the guise of fighting terrorism or protecting 'intellectual property' rights", added Paul.
In a letter to CISPA initiators Mike Rogers and Dutch Ruppersberger, eighteen Democrats expressed a more dispassionate view than the potential Republican candidate. They said that the bill, which attempts to regulate the exchange of information on cyber threats between private organisations and government institutions such as intelligence services, is lacking important safeguards. For example, the signatories demanded that it should be determined what information relating to internet activity can be shared. It should also be decided who in the US federal government can access the information and for what purpose the information can be used, they added.
An online petition on the Avaaz.org platform describes CISPA as a warrant for spying on every internet user and has already attracted 750,000 signatures. However, resistance isn't unanimous, and CISPA is supported by 113 US Congress members. In an interview with Talking Points Memo magazine, initiator Rogers said that he is confident that the bill will be passed by Congress. A background paper by Rogers and Ruppersberger justified the bill by referring to threats such as those originating from China and Russia. However, President Obama's administration has already indicated that he won't be able to sign the bill in its present form. US Representatives have until Thursday 26 April to amend the bill.