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UPDATE: The House passed the controversial cybersecurity bill known as CISPA late Thursday night, with 42 Democrats joining the bulk of the Republican caucus to approve the bill despite White House threats of a veto.
(The final tally was 248-168, with 206 Republicans and 42 Democrats voting for the bill, and 140 Democrats and 28 Republicans opposed.)
The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act has been called SOPA 2.0 by critics after the controversial internet piracy bill that was shouted down by widespread outcry from the tech community earlier this year. Unlike SOPA, CISPA is primarily focused on cybersecurity and not on Internet piracy. Nevertheless, CISPA comes with its own troubling implications for critics.
Slate's Will Oremus explains that the bill, which allows government agencies and the private sector to share information in order to fight cybersecurity threats, does not adequately define its limitations: "if companies are to have carte blanche to share information related to 'cyber threats,' the law must be far clearer on what constitutes a cyber threat and what types of information can be shared," Oremus writes.
On Wednesday, President Obama threatened to veto CISPA should it reach his desk in its current form. The legislation now moves to the Senate, where lawmakers are at work on their own version of the bill.
Wednesday, April 11: Are SOPA and PIPA back from the dead? A new cybersecurity bill winding its way through Congress has some seeing double, but its supporters say the legislation has nothing to do with the Internet piracy bills taken off the floor months ago amid a Web-based outcry.
The House is expected to vote later this month on the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, known as CISPA, which would amend the National Security Act of 1947 so that government agencies and the private sector can share information with each other in order to fight cybersecurity threats. The bill has more than 100 congressional co-sponsors and support from the likes of Microsoft, IBM, Facebook, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
But some groups, like the Electronic Frontier Foundation, have already spoken out against the bill, saying that its language is too broad, particularly its definition of "cybersecurity threat," which they say could allow for SOPA-like Internet censorship actions, including the filtering and taking down of websites.
The bill author's, however, have been quick to distance it from SOPA. The Hill reports that House Intelligence Chairman Mike Rogers, who introduced the new bill with Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, argues that CISPA will include amendments clarifying its civil liberties language, and is aimed only at helping authorities prevent the sharing of information about malicious code, not content. Rogers has Ruppersberger have also promised to introduce language that opens up the government to private lawsuits if the shared information is used for purposes other than cybersecurity.