Luckily for denizens of the internet, SOPA was struck down not too long ago, but there’s another bill which was passed by the House of Representatives that proves just as menacing. It’s called CISPA, and was voted for 248 to 168. The bill would require private companies to hand over information they pertaining to you if requested by any government agency. That includes websites like Google, YouTube, and Facebook.
The bill is supposed to allow the government to use information for “cybersecurity” and “national security” purposes, but three recent additions to the bill give it an even wider (and vaguer) scope. TechDirt details the additions as the “investigation and prosecution of cybersecurity crime, protection of individuals, and protection of children,” and that “Cybersecurity crime is defined as any crime involving network disruption or hacking, plus any violation of the CFAA.”
So if the government suspects you of having committed some kind of cybercrime, they can dig through your information without falling foul of privacy laws. There’s no limit to what the government can use the data for, either, just as long as say that there was some kind of danger. The even crazier part is that Google and Facebook support the bill, believing it help will protect them from cybercrimes.
It’s not all bad news: first the bill would have to pass the Senate, then it would need to be signed into law by President Obama. He’s so far maintained a firm stance on the issue, saying he will veto the bill if it lands on his desk. The fact that it managed to pass the House without too many issues is a cause for concern though, and the EFF suggests you get in touch with your local representative in Congress to drum up awareness of how damaging this bill could potentially be.