Monday, April 16, 2012

Industry groups attempted to corral the growing Internet protest against a proposed cybersecurity bill Monday, announcing what could spell tweaks to the wording of a bill that some call far too vague -- and a real threat to online privacy.

The Business Software Alliance and the Center for Democracy and Technology met Monday, Apr. 16, to discuss the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), a new bill intended to regulate the flow of information online and make it easier for the government to communicate with companies in the event of a cyber threat.

“We agreed that the definition of what constitutes cyber threat information could benefit from sharpening,” the software alliance said in a statement. “We also discussed clarifying limitations on how threat information will be handled and used by government.”

Cyberwatchdogs may be slow to accept such tweaks, on the cusp of Stop Cyber Spying Week, an Internet-wide protest launched Monday leading up to the Apr. 23 vote on CISPA (HR 3523).

They argue that the bill itself is the real cyber threat.

“CISPA is likely to lead to expansion of the government’s role in the monitoring of private communications,” warned the Center for Democracy and Technology, and “is likely to shift control of government cybersecurity efforts from civilian agencies to the military.”

The Electronic Freedom Foundation and Reporters Without Borders agree, the later noting that this bill sacrifices freedom of expression and the protection of online privacy “in the interests of national security or copyright.”