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How is this new CISPA version any different from the old Senate-stalled version?

The current version of CISPA, reintroduced into the House, has the same name and vastly the same content. CISPA was brought back to the House in its original format.

Since being debated and amended by the House Intelligence committee, it has gone through a mark-up process that would tighten up certain language and add definitions. This process was decided upon by members to be conducted in secret, despite the controversy surrounding this Bill. While CISPA does not force or require a private firm to share data with the US government, major telecoms providers have illegally shared data with the US intelligence agencies before.

During this recent mark-up process, less than half of the privacy re-enabling amendments that passed have “only chipped away at the edges of CISPA”, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF).

These amendments now include:

  • Information for “national security” purposes: One amendment means the US government can only use data collected under CISPA for “cybersecurity purposes”, and not used for “national security” purposes — a catch-all term that can and has been used to skirt Fourth Amendment rights. The second amendment imposes the same rule on private firms. However, “cybersecurity” is still loosely defined and could be misinterpreted or abused by private firms.
  • Hacking back: Private firms are limited from acting beyond their own networks to gather “cyberthreat information”, such as “hacking the hackers”. But the EFF noted that a “huge loophole” exists, which allows a firm to “still use aggressive countermeasures outside of its own network as long as it believed the countermeasures were necessary for protection”.
  • Government-related privacy oversight: This amendment requires oversight on how CISPA affects civil liberties and privacy on government activity, but it does not apply to private firms. The EFF is concerned that there is “no assessment of whether companies over-collect or over-share sensitive information”.

Source: Associated Press

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