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Lawmakers Introduce New Controversial Privacy Bill

Latest said to be bigger than SOPA

Wednesday, April 11, 2012
Lawmakers Introduce New Controversial Privacy BillA few months ago, the Internet was abuzz with anger over a pair of bills in Congress known as SOPA and PIPA, and though those were ultimately defeated largely as a result of that online outrage, a new, potentially more powerful bill has risen to take their place.

SOPA (the Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (the Protect Intellectual Property Act) led to the infamous "Internet Blackout" in January, and lawmakers' support for those two bills shriveled almost immediately, according to a report from PC Magazine. But now critics say but the latest bill designed to be a spiritual successor to those laws, known as CISPA (the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act), could be a whole lot worse.

This bill specifically is designed to protect companies from hacking attacks, which have grown quite popular in the hacktivist community in recent months, but allows for tech companies to more easily share data on those trying to steal information, the report said. Ostensibly, that could be good, but privacy advocates say it's also a slippery slope. The bill contains language that is, perhaps intentionally, quite broad. This means there would be no restriction to the type of information companies and the government could share as long as they could link it in some way to a type of cyber threat. Consequently, the government could, theoretically, ask for any information on any Internet user it wants, and the company could turn it over.

In fact, the wording of the bill is so broad that some experts say it could be used to take down sites that SOPA and PIPA were designed to stop, such as WikiLeaks and file-sharing site The Pirate Bay, the report said.  However, advocates - and there are many of them - say that because the U.S. is now under such heavy attack from hackers acting either alone or at the behest of foreign governments, something needs to be in place to stop them.

"The broad base of support for this bill shows that Congress recognizes the urgent need to help our private sector better defend itself from these insidious attacks," said Rep. Mike Rodgers, the Michigan Republican who co-sponsored the bill, according to the news site.

Ondrej Krehel, chief information security officer for Identity Theft 911, has a blog about the threats companies face from hackers and can be done to stop them.

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