It looks like the government really wants to control your internet. This time Congress is using national security for justification with H.R. 3523 Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection act of 2011

What is CISPA? This bill authorizes internet service providers to share customer communications and other personally identifiable information with government agencies and does not distinguish between thefts of public and private information. This means that H.R. 3523 does not separate people who steal government information from people who download a movie. It has a very broad, almost unlimited definition of the information that can be shared with government agencies notwithstanding privacy and other laws. Once the information is shared with the government, it wouldn’t have to be used for cyber security, but could instead be used for any purpose that is not specifically prohibited. Information obtained under this law is also exempted from freedom of information act (FOIA) requests.

Who thought this was a good idea? The chief sponsor is Representative Mike Rogers (R-MI-08). Rogers has been in office since 2000 and is the chairman of The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (the same committee that approved the bill). This bill already has over 100 bi-partisan co-sponsors, just like SOPA.

When did this get approved? H.R. 3523 was introduced on November 30th, 2011 and was approved by the committee on December 1st, less than 24 hours after it was introduced. It is now before the House and will be considered around late April but has not been scheduled for a vote. House leadership will frequently delay scheduling a bill for activity until they have whipped up the needed votes.

Why does this keep happening? Even if we accept the idea that new cyber security laws are needed, this bill has serious problems. When Congress repeatedly uses intellectual property rights, national security and other legitimate issues to mask unbridled policing of the internet, it’s difficult to trust any solution offered. If Congress took the effort invested in bills like SOPA, PIPA, PRECISE and SECURE IT, and instead created Constitution-compatible legislation, it would be easier to believe Congress was acting in good-faith.

We urge Congress to carefully consider the real-world needs of cyber security within the limits of the Constitution and earn back our trust.

See below for more information on CISPA.

Cyber Intelligence Bill Threatens Privacy and Civilian Control
ACLU Comparison of pending cyber security bills
Slow Down, Homeland Security: Does Everyone Really Agree That We Need Cybersecurity Legislation Now?