Originally published: April 19, 2012
Last updated: April 20, 2012 - 12:17am
[Commentary] Three months ago, the Stop Online Piracy Act was killed by righteous, indignant Internet activists who found the legislation so menacing that they blacked out their sites in protest. Now, the story goes, SOPA is back, like a movie villain rising from the grave for a bloody sequel. CISPA, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, has been dubbed “SOPA 2.0” by tech blogs, who want you to believe it’s the same devil in a new disguise. They’re wrong.
CISPA is a different devil altogether. And while it’s unlikely to provoke anywhere near the same level of outcry as SOPA, it has the potential to be insidious in its own right. The difference is that, if CISPA is abused, it won’t be the tech firms that get hurt. It will be you. SOPA was primarily about intellectual property. The bill would have given digital rights-holders -- record companies and film studios, for instance -- sweeping power to go after websites that appeared to “enable or facilitate” copyright infringement. Those that didn’t comply could be blacklisted. It’s easy to see why companies like Google and Facebook adamantly opposed it. It was a broadside against the culture of free sharing that underpins their business models. CISPA, in contrast, is about cybersecurity, not your bootleg copy of Avatar. Its main goal is not to protect copyright-holders’ profits, but to protect websites and the government from hackers. Early incarnations of the bill set SOPA opponents on edge with a line about protecting intellectual property. But its bipartisan sponsors, Reps. Mike Rogers of Michigan and Dutch Ruppersberger of Maryland, wisely edited CISPA last week to remove that mention. It should now be clear to all but the most paranoid that CISPA isn’t SOPA 2.0. At this point, to label it as such is to both miss the bill’s legitimate aim and to overlook the bill’s real potential harms.
- It’s imperfect, but CISPA isn’t the devil in disguise
- Corporate SOPA opponents approve of CISPA
- Lawmakers: Cybersecurity bill is not SOPA
- The Internet Is Not Freaking Out About the SOPA Sequel
- CISPA: Necessary protection or invasion of privacy?
- CISPA Changes Show Power of Internet Advocacy
- White House threatens veto against CISPA, citing privacy concerns
- Intel panel hopes to avoid new cybersecurity fight with President Obama
- Inside the Anonymous Army of 'Hacktivist' Attackers
- President Obama's Cybersecurity Executive Order Scores Much Better Than CISPA On Privacy
- Cybersecurity bill advances in House
- Rebirth of CISPA, but 'concerns haven't gone away'
- Should we be as worried about CISPA as we were about SOPA?
- Rep Langevin defends CISPA, points to 'rigorous privacy requirements'
- CISPA: Who’s for it, who’s against it