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New privacy-killing CISPA clone is now a step closer to becoming law

Updated Jul 10th, 2014 10:40AM EDT
CISA Bill Approved

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We all remember the outrage that swept the Internet and ultimately played a role in defeating CISPA, a proposed law that would have allowed government agencies and tech companies to exchange private information about United States citizens without their knowledge and without a warrant. Well, it’s time to get ready for another round of outrage because CISPA’s controversial successor is now a step closer to becoming law.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s new proposal, dubbed “Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2014” or simply “CISA,” passed through the Senate Intelligence Committee on Wednesday, having been approved by a 12-3 vote, Motherboard reported.

According to Sen. Feinstein, CISA has undergone numerous changes compared to the original CISPA bill proposal, and the changes should help ease the concerns of CISPA critics. Civil liberty groups such as the Center for Democracy and Technology disagree.

Should CISA ultimately become law, it would allow companies to share private user data with local and federal law enforcement if the claim is made that it relates to any kind of alleged criminal activity that might be considered a “cyber threat.”

The proposal would also allow authorities to set up wiretaps without having to go through any court system to obtain a warrant.

“This very broad criminal purpose creates the possibility that cybersecurity information sharing becomes a backdoor wiretap, because law enforcement would be receiving information it otherwise would not get unless it showed probable cause,” Center for Democracy and Technology attorney Greg Nojeim told Motherboard when CISA was first proposed. “You don’t want a world where very robust cybersecurity information sharing turns into a law enforcement tool that’s used to prosecute people for completely unrelated crime.”

Updated to clarify name of news source.

Zach Epstein
Zach Epstein Executive Editor

Zach Epstein has been the Executive Editor at BGR for more than 10 years. He manages BGR’s editorial team and ensures that best practices are adhered to. He also oversees the Ecommerce team and directs the daily flow of all content. Zach first joined BGR in 2007 as a Staff Writer covering business, technology, and entertainment.

His work has been quoted by countless top news organizations, and he was recently named one of the world's top 10 “power mobile influencers” by Forbes. Prior to BGR, Zach worked as an executive in marketing and business development with two private telcos.