Published by LawTechie - April 27, 2012 - LawTechie

Internet LawYesterday the House of Representatives voted 248 to 168 in favor of the Cyber Intelligence Sharing Protection Act (CISPA) which, according to the Center for Democracy and Technology, threatens to undermine internet users’ privacy the same way that the failed SOPA bill threatened free speech.

A good summary of CISPA can be found at the CDT’s website.

[ CISPA ] would authorize Internet service providers and other companies to share customer communications and other personally identifiable information with governmental agencies.

Among CISPA’s more dangerous provisions:

[ CISPA permits ISPs ] to funnel private communications and related information back to the government without adequate privacy protections and controls. The bill does not specify which agencies ISPs could disclose customer data to, but the structure and incentives in the bill raise a very real possibility that the National Security Agency or the DOD’s Cybercommand would be the primary recipient.

Under the bill, when communications data is shared with the government, it could be used to prosecute an individual for any crime, used to target him or her for intelligence surveillance, and shared among governmental agencies to the extent permitted by current law and used by those agencies for any lawful non-regulatory governmental purpose. Data shared with other entities in the private sector could be used and redisclosed for any purpose, subject only to restrictions placed on such sharing by the entity authorizing the information to be shared – whether the authorizing entity is “self protected” or hires a “cybersecurity provider” such as an ISP.

It seems that the House passed this one without much fanfare — otherwise CISPA would have likely received an outcry similar to SOPA. Let’s see how the Senate handles this.

It would also be interesting to see to what extent CISPA might violate the 4th Amendment… an analysis of that soon.

LawTechie is a blog focusing on trends in tech and digital media. Areas covered include intellectual property, cyberlaw, venture capital, transactions and litigation as they relate to the emerging sectors. The blog is edited by the firm's partner Tim Bukher with contributions from the firm's experts in their respective areas of law.

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