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EFF blasts 'Cyber Intelligence' bill over privacy concerns

updated 05:05 pm EDT, Tue April 17, 2012

CISPA goes too far claim EFF

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has launched a campaign to fight the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), a cybersecurity bill designed to allow companies and the federal government to share information to prevent or defend from cyberattacks. The EFF, along with other civil liberties organizations, dispute the bill on the basis that is written too broadly and would be a loophole in existing privacy laws.

CISPA, the EFF says, would allow companies to monitor private communications including e-mail and Facebook access, depending on the interpretation of how a company can "use cybersecurity systems to identify and obtain cyber threat information to protect the rights and property" of the business. Existing laws, such as the Wiretap Act and the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, stop companies from monitoring private communications except in specific cases, whereas CISPA would effectively give companies immunity from liability, both civil and criminal, if they monitor for a cybersecurity purpose.

The EFF is trying to rally internet users to their cause in an attempt to stop the bill before it is put to a vote in the House on April 23, in a similar way to how SOPA and PIPA were halted.

The bill has already been amended following concerns, including narrowing the scope of cyberthreats, defining "theft of intellectual property" as the theft of research and development, and possible penalties for misuse of data received in the name of CISPA.

by MacNN Staff



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