CISPA replaces SOPA

Jeff Hargarten

The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act is a bill similar to the Stop Online Piracy Act that’s gaining traction in the U.S. House of Representatives.

H.R. 3532, similarly to SOPA, emphasizes digital piracy and file sharing, while also considering the infringement of intellectual property as a security threat. The House bill has gained more than 100 sponsors thus far.

Under CISPA, Internet service providers and other companies could be forced to share user data with government agencies.

“[CISPA] would let companies spy on users and share private information with the federal government and other companies with near-total immunity from civil and criminal liability. It effectively creates a ‘cybersecurity’ exemption to all existing laws,” according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Among EFF’s concerns is the bill’s vague language, in that companies like Google, Facebook or Twitter could intercept emails, text messages or browsing habits, transmit it to each other or to government agencies and then modify the communications to remove infringing or threatening material, or simply block the data from getting to its destination all together.

SOPA and its Senate companion bill the PROTECT IP Act were shelved in January following mass online protests from major Web companies and digital freedom advocates. European protests against the Anti-Counterfieting Trade Agreement compelled many EU countries to delay or drop ratification of the treaty.

The American Civil Liberties Union has objected to these and similar bills and created a detailed chart of all of the current cyber security and antipiracy proposals.