CISPA gets rejected by the Senate for a second time

In the same under-the-radar maneuver that allowed the controversial bill to pass the House of Representatives, CISPA was rejected for a second time on a senate vote. According to the US Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation , which had been tasked to take on the bill’s second attempt to land in the oval office desk for signing, the bill would be shelved and it had been. The bill, after all, is still missing four incredibly vital privacy amendments aimed to protect Internet users from what would certainly be an excess of censorship and moderation from government entities, big companies, and service providers.

For the uninformed, here is a short rundown of…

How CISPA would affect you

So many people would claim that the whole ruckus some parts of the greater World Wide Web are making over CISPA is inconsequential whining. But the truth is, if CISPA were to pass, it would "waive every single privacy law ever enacted in the name of cybersecurity", as declared by Representative Jared Police of Colorado. It would give the military and NSA virtually free-reign to spy on Americans and their every movement online.

If you thought Google having trenches and trenches of data on everything you search through their engine is bad, imagine what the military or NSA could potentially do to such information, which they will be given easier access to thanks to CISPA. The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) would, after all open the gates to a bigger channel of information sharing between the government and companies, especially online companies (social networking sites, search engines, blog engine owners, even VoIP providers will be blanketed by the bill) who control all their users’ data online. Since so many of us have quite a bit of private information going around online (in Facebook alone, there’s already more than enough information to allow someone to impersonate or frame another person), this could be disastrous, especially to American privacy.

The big controversy

According to CNet’s FAQ article on CISPA,

"What sparked significant privacy worries is the section of CISPA that says “notwithstanding any other provision of law,” companies may share information “with any other entity, including the federal government.” It doesn’t, however, require them to do so."

The "notwithstanding" in the wording means that CISPA will effectively trump state, federal, and criminal laws, including wiretapping laws, web company policies, census data, medical records virtually a goldmine of private information that the government would basically be given an all-access pass to that can very easily be abused.

How CISPA is faring now

CISPA had already reached the Senate once and was soundly rejected owing to the privacy issues and the complete outrage it had sparked from many users online and online entities that are desperately fighting against it. Major websites showed their support in the fight against CISPA; with a number of them going on Blackout and urging users to do the same in a show of protest against the bill. Hundreds of thousands of signatures had been gathered up by online petitions to the White House against the bill.

Despite countless changes and amendments, CISPA once again overlooked the privacy amendments that had been sorely needed since the first attempt. While it cleared the House of Representatives once more, President Obama himself had shortly threatened to veto the bill even if it were to pass the gauntlet of the Senate, which it did not, in the last week. Senate refused to even vote on CISPA.

It is likely that if the trend continues, CISPA will be shelved for good. But until then, netizens stay wary for more attempts to breach online privacy.

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