CISPA has returned to the US Senate with a slightly different name

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The federal government refuses to let one of the most controversial Internet bills ever conceived die. CISPA, as it was known when it was introduced in 2011, made a temporary resurgence last year only to meet the same opposition that had blocked its passage two years before. But as Vice has discovered, the bill is back under consideration by the US Senate under a slightly altered name. The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2014 “incentivizes the sharing of cybersecurity threat information between the private sector and the government and among private sector entities,” according to a press release published on Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s website on Tuesday. “It responds to the massive and growing threat to national and economic security from cyber intrusion and attack, and seeks to improve the security of public and private computer networks by increasing awareness of threats and defenses.”

The Senate Intelligence Committee is moving forward with its Cybersecurity Information Protection Act—a problematic, potentially civil liberties-killing piece of legislation that looks just like the CISPA bill the internet fought so hard to kill last year—and the year before that. CIPA, written by Senate Intelligence Chair Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) and Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) will be considered by the committee next week, according to Feinstein. “The bill incentivizes the sharing of cybersecurity threat information between the private sector and the government and among private sector entities,” Feinstein’s team suggested in a press release. “It responds to the massive and growing threat to national and economic security from cyber intrusion and attack, and seeks to improve the security of public and private computer networks by increasing awareness of threats and defenses.” It does some of that, but, as I noted back in April when a draft of the bill leaked (the one released by Feinstein today is virtually identical), the problems with CIPA are almost as numerous as the ones with CISPA. The bill looks to do essentially the same thing—allow the federal government to trade classified “cyber threat” information with private companies in exchange for companies’ “voluntarily” doing the same with its users’ data. Feinstein has been one of the NSA’s biggest supporters in Congress.

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