The U.S. House of Representatives has approved new cybersecurity legislation called the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA). Supporters say the bill is vital to protect the nation against the grave threat of cyberattacks. Opponents of CISPA argue that the bill’s broad language infringes public privacy. As the bill heads to the Senate, we take up the debate.

Rainey Reitman, activism director for the Electronic Frontier Foundation
Jennifer Martinez, technology policy reporter for Politico
Dean Garfield, president and CEO of the Information Technology Industry Council

  • There is no justifiable reason to keep critical infrastructure connected to the public Internet. If the Chinese or whoever were to break in and wreak havoc, it would be the fault of our overpaid, privatized, corporate security infrastructure, which puts their profits over our national security and public safety.

  • Bob

    Isn’t NSA whistleblower William Binney the elephant in the room here? 

    Mr. Binney claims the NSA already has copies of most of our emails, which they data-mine for threat information.  CISPA seems like a back door to making this legal.

  • VeronicaMP

    It looks to me like that certain group of people that control our government, (read: ALEC) want to scare us so that they can build an apparatus to monitor us and control us. This is really scary.

  • If we want to keep critical infrastructure from being hacked by the Chinese why do we need to allow the NSA to sift through the personal information of the American public?

  • According to the news coverage this morning this bill would allow information to be shared to protect the safety of any person. That is an enormous category that can be made to apply to anything

  • I am a network security professional and am here to say that network security measures such as a firewall or a password policy are much more likely to prevent a cyberattack than NSA scrutiny of the Twitter firehose.

  • If we want information security then we should implement it, and we should not, for example, have essential systems protected by three-digit numeric (and KNOWN) default passwords. See 

  • James Ivey

     The gentleman proponent of CISPA seems to be saying that, since there’s nothing in the bill that _requires_ violation of civil liberties, civil liberties are not threatened by the bill.  In addition, why do so many corporations who claim to have no intention of handing private information over to the government lobby so hard for the legal right to do exactly that?

    One last thought:  I wonder to what extent this is a back door for the RIAA and MPAA to police their copyrights.  Every few years, these organizations push for greater ability to police copyright violations themselves and for greater and greater punishments for copyright violations.

    • Bob

       It was a back door to police copyrights as originally written, but all reference to IP has been removed from the bill.

    • *One* of the stories I saw this morning said that information could be disclosed to prevent theft. It was PCMag I think, but it’s a huge red flag that when the issues are this important we are not sure what’s actually in the bill, because it was massively amended just before it was passed, a day ahead of schedule.

  • Scott

    As a lawyer, there are a couple things I’d like to point out. First, the 4th Amendment protection from unreasonable search and seizure only is a protection from government intrusion. Thus, if a private company turns over private info to the government, any possible “evidence” collected will not be subjected to the 4th Amendment protections. Secondly, I want listeners to know that SCOTUS have traditionally held that no one has a “reasonable expectation of privacy” when they transmit almost ANY info to 3rd parties and thus without privacy law protested this info, what is preventing a slew of info unreasonably and even unlawfully collected from being allowed as admissible evidence in court?

  • Helen

    There are English Jihad sites trying to recruit American youth.  As an informed citizen I would like to be able to read what they are writing.  Under CISPA if I search out a Jihad site am I liable to be tracked by the government?  I feel as though my right to knowledge is impinged.

  • Lpn

    Mr. Garfield has used the analogy of completing a 100 piece puzzle with only 10 pieces to illustrate the governments ability to prevent or stop cyber attacks.  He then relies on the fact the data sharing is voluntary as a justification.  However these points are at odds because if no data is ever turned over to the government, it will only be working with “10 pieces” to complete the puzzle.  On the other hand, for this bill/process to work private companies must share info.  

    In other words, the bill will only work as much as the companies “volunteer” their data…to me, that suggests the government will greatly pressure companies to do so and this “voluntary” component of the bill is a farce.  Lets call a spade a spade, this will be a de facto mandate. 

  • ???

    Whoa, absolutely not. EVERYONE looks at the BAD of Anonymous. Very few people look at the good at what they’ve done. You say they have malicious intent for this country? That’s the most ignorant thing I’ve ever heard. They’re trying to keep the internet free for all of us and you say they want to mess up the country? Nice thought.

    • Phil

      It effects the world as a whole, and all you people can debate is about yourselve’s. Get your finger out of your arse America, And wake up for christs sake, We are all on the planet, ALL OF US

  • I have called my congress man and explained that I plan to take legal action against this bill as it  compromises my business by allowing NSA to view, read, and save propriety information in secure emails.

  • Isolate your networks.  To operate a plant, just call down the line “here comes the sludge.”  Isolate your communications computers from your technical computers.  Disconnect the cells from each other.  Accept paper checks instead of electronic plastic.  Step back in tech time and dump the problem. 

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