After sneaking by the House and inspiring a handful of websites to go black to “stop CISPA”, it was determined today, that the bill would not even be considered by the U.S. Senate. Just as quietly as it passed through the House, it has been rejected by the Senate. Good news to consumers and internet users who favor keeping even an inkling of privacy rights online. However, internet users celebrated the death of SOPA and PIPA only to have been surprised by CISPA. Maybe this time, instead of celebrating, we should spend some time considering what may be waiting around the next corner.
According to a Senate aide, the staff and senators are still addressing provisions and issues that are needed to protect us from cyber attacks. Although they have somehow decided CISPA wouldn’t work, they are still trying to come up with their own bills which may address these cyber issues. Considering the record of what has thus far been presented, it is safe to say that it is unlikely that any of these “new” bills will be doing us any favors.
Unlike SOPA/PIPA, it is unclear whether the internet protest was as responsible for stopping CISPA, but education of the bill had to have been responsible at least a little bit. It is possible that consumers and internet users were vocal in letting their Senators know that we weren’t completely sleeping during the week long Boston Marathon bombing, West, Texas explosion, tax deadlines, misinformation and confusion of the media, and various events which took place during the real life Hell Week that is otherwise known as the third week of April, 2013. To be fair, we’ve had a lot on our plates the last couple weeks.
Maybe it was understood when President Obama said “Without clear legal protections and independent oversight, information-sharing legislation will undermine the public's trust in the government as well as in the Internet by undermining fundamental privacy, confidentiality, civil liberties and consumer protections” that CISPA wasn’t going anywhere unless privacy concerns were addressed.
Or maybe the Senate just wants to figure out a better way to sneak by a different bill which limits or “protects” our privacy rights more or with different language.
Apparently, CISPA is outta there. But, we should only celebrate temporarily. There will be other bills disguised under the premise of protection that aren’t really designed to protect us. In fact, we should probably start taking a good look at the upcoming Cybersecurity and American Cyber Competitiveness Act of 2013. At least this piece of legislation specifically requires companies to remove personal information before sending the data to the government. Regardless of what we call it though and regardless of the “good” parts that may be included, it is becoming clear that there will be another SOPA, another PIPA, another CISPA. Let’s keep our fingers crossed that we don’t let it slip by us.