CISPA Cybersecurity Bill Passes House, Again

Cybersecurity bill passes House, again, now faces battle in Senate, again.

April 18, 2013, 5:27 PM

April 18, 2013 — -- It feels a bit like that movie "Groundhog Day."

A year after the U.S. House of Representatives first passed CISPA, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, it passed it again today. The controversial legislation now heads to the Senate, where it died last year.

The act, which would increase the information that is shared between the government and technology companies in hopes of preventing and protecting the country against cyberattacks, passed the House with a strong bipartisan vote of 288 to 127, with 18 abstaining. Last year, the bill passed the House by a vote of 248 to 168, with a Republican majority.

But the bill faces resistance in the Senate, and from the White House. President Obama, who threatened to veto the bill last year, still believes it does not provide adequate privacy protections for consumers. On Tuesday, the Office of the President said in a statement that the administration was still looking for improvements to the bill.

"The administration still seeks additional improvements, and if the bill, as currently crafted, were presented to the president, his senior advisers would recommend that he veto the bill," it stated. Obama and other opponents are worried about consumer privacy and the scope of sharing between the government and independent technology companies.

Proponents of the bill, such as Mike Rogers, R-Mich., and Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Md., who introduced it, said the sharing of information would allow the government and the proper agencies to address cyberthreats quickly.

"Passing this legislation is not just a victory on the House floor. This is victory for America," Ruppersberger said in a statement this afternoon. "Our nation is one step closer to making a real difference in protecting our country from a catastrophic cyberattack."

Rogers also shared his excitement in a statement: "I am very proud that so many of my colleagues were able to look past the distortions and fear mongering about this bill, and see it for what it really is – a very narrow and focused authority to share cybersecurity threat information to keep America safe."

Some technology companies, including Microsoft, have shown support for the legislation.

But, unsurprisingly, other members of the technology community have spoken out about the bill. The Internet Defense League, a network of websites that includes Reddit, Mozilla, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and 30,000 other sites, posted banners calling to have the bill struck down once and for all.

A petition has more than 156,000 signatures as well.

CISPA now heads to the Senate. Like was said at the beginning, "Groundhog Day."