CISPA in limbo in busy Senate

The controversial cybersecurity bill passed the House, but the Senate hasn't take up the issue

Published April 24, 2013 12:55PM (EDT)


The passage of the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) through Congress has hit an obstacle -- but owing little to protest efforts from privacy advocates and civil libertarians opposed to the bill. Rather, an apathetic Senate with other priorities is holding CISPA in limbo.

As noted here Tuesday, a huge amount of special interest funding ($84 million, to be precise) may have helped more than double the number of Democrat representatives willing to vote for CISPA from 42 to 92. However, the bill -- which would allow the private sector to acquire and search sensitive data relating to U.S. citizens -- is going nowhere particularly fast in the Senate. As the AP reported:

The House vote, 288-127, puts the spotlight on the Senate, which hasn't taken up the issue and is consumed with other high-profile issues such as gun control and immigration. The lack of enthusiasm in the Senate and objections by the White House mean that the legislation is in limbo despite an aggressive push by lobbyists representing nearly every corner of industry.

...The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, or CISPA, is widely backed by industry groups that say businesses are struggling to defend themselves against aggressive and sophisticated attacks from hackers in China, Russia and Eastern Europe... But privacy advocates and civil liberties groups say the bill would open up Americans' most private online records to the federal government. The bill doesn't include a requirement that companies scrub data of sensitive information like health or credit records before sharing it with the government.

By Natasha Lennard

Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email

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Cispa Congress Cybersecurity Privacy Senate