US House approves controversial cybersecurity bill

[JURIST] The US House of Representatives [official website] voted 248-168 [roll call] Thursday to approve a controversial cybersecurity bill that would allow private companies and the federal government to exchange private security information, despite the threat of a presidential veto. The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) [HR 3523 materials] was designed as a way to stop cyber attacks on US infrastructure as well as these private companies [AP report]. The bill would allow the private companies to share information with the federal government and vice versa, pertaining to these electronic attacks. Lawmakers who support the bill have hailed it as the next step in the fight against a new wave of terrorism. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) [advocacy website], disagrees [press release], cautioning against giving up too much freedom for too little security: "Cybersecurity does not have to mean abdication of Americans' online privacy. As we've seen repeatedly, once the government gets expansive national security authorities, there's no going back. We encourage the Senate to let this horrible bill fade into obscurity." The bill will now go before the Senate, where analysts say it is unlikely to pass.

Obama administration official Melanie Ann Pustay [official profile] testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee [official website] in March to urge congressional officials [JURIST report] to amend the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) [text] to strengthen government's ability to prevent disclosure of information related to critical infrastructure and cybersecurity. Several countries have attempted to bolster cybercrime security enforcement in recent years. In June the Australian government introduced legislation aimed at reinforcing current cybercrime laws [JURIST report] and improving Australia's international cybercrime security. Also that month US authorities announced that they are investigating claims by Google [JURIST report] that hundreds of personal Gmail accounts were breached by hackers in China. In November 2009 the Iranian government announced the establishment of a new police unit [JURIST report] to fight Internet crime, though opposition leaders said its true purpose was to crack down on protesters and voices of dissent, who rely on the Internet to get their message out. The Finnish legislature passed the Exercise of Freedom of Expression in Mass Media Act in December 2008 that now provides a remedy to victims of Internet crime [JURIST report], but it was not in effect at the time of an incident of Internet pedophilia. The US Senate ratified [JURIST report] the COE Convention on Cybercrime, which is intended to improve information- and evidence-sharing between national governments to prevent crimes on the Internet, in August 2006.

 

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