New CISPA Amendments Pose Changes Online
Act to prevent intellectual property theft proposed
Published: Thursday, April 19, 2012
Updated: Thursday, April 19, 2012 11:04
Santa Clara students may have to be a little more careful about where they procure their copy of Tyler Perry’s Madea’s Witness Protection if U.S. Representative Mike Rogers (R-MI) gets his way.
The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, proposed by Rogers, is a law designed to thwart cyber-attacks against American networks and prevent intellectual property theft. The bill is set for a vote in the House of Representatives the week of April 23.
The bill would amend the National Security Act of 1947 adding provisions that protect “cyber threat information,” which the bill defines as any information that threatens “the protection of a system or network,” or as online theft of government information, intellectual property or private information. It would also require the establishment of protocols for the sharing of cyber threat intelligence between the intelligence community and private entities.
Ronald Danielson, Santa Clara’s chief information officer and vice provost for information services, had reservations about the bill. “Cyber-terrorism and cyber-security are definitely real; definitely things we need to be thinking about,” said Danielson. “I’m not sure this bill is the right solution to those issues.”
Danielson mentioned that the bill had been the subject of discussion among the nation’s universities’ administrations. “There was great skepticism in the higher education community around the inclusion of intellectual property as one of the things that may trigger the provisions in the bill,” he said.
It was felt that this might be a thinly-veiled attempt for the recording and entertainment industry to bypass the Stop Online Piracy Act, and its Senate counterpart, the Protect IP Act,” added Danielson. “I think there are enough concerns raised among people that I normally think are level-headed that I would have serious reservations about the bill.”
While Danielson was disenchanted with CISPA, he stressed the urgency with which effective cyber threat legislation is needed.
“The threat is very real,” said Danielson. “We do need legislation about it. My past experience has been that legislation has not kept up with changes in technology, and I would worry about that in this case.” Danielson also acknowledged the complexity of the issue. “We need provisions in any kind of cyber security bill that protect individuals’ privacy. The question is how you balance that against security issues that affect all of us. It’s a very difficult question.”
CISPA is officially supported by over 800 companies, many of which are well-known names in the fields of technology and telecommunications. Microsoft, Apple, Dell, Adobe, IBM, and Google, all members of the Information Technology Industry Council, are among the bill’s most prominent supporters.
Facebook, another CISPA supporter, recently came under fire for its support because of its unique position – the company has access to large stores of private user data, and would potentially be able to offer this information to intelligence agencies if the bill becomes law.
In a company blog post, Facebook Vice President of U.S. Public Policy, Joel Kaplan, defended the company’s support, saying, “…if the government learns of an intrusion or other attack, the more it can share about that attack with private companies (and the faster it can share the information), the better the protection for users and our systems… (CISPA would) make it easier for Facebook and other companies to receive critical threat data from the U.S. government.” CISPA has already drawn comparisons to last year’s SOPA controversy.
SOPA’s most contentious provisions called for the criminalization of unauthorized online streaming of copyrighted content, with criminal penalties of up to five years in prison.
Many, feared SOPA would lead to widespread censorship of popular media-sharing sites such as YouTube.
Others, like sophomore Hao Dong, believed SOPA would waste money and stifle creativity among tech-sector companies. “Implementing it would cost millions, if not billion,” he said.
The public as well as online companies are against it,” said Dong. “Congress (wasted) time debating it when they should have been considering the deficit, the war and poverty.” Contact Joseph Forte at email@example.com or (408)554-4849.