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It's privacy versus cybersecurity as CISPA bill arrives in Senate

Melissa Riofrio | April 26, 2013
Cybersecurity and online privacy are two critical interests that seem destined never to get along. Sure, you want malicious hackers, spammers, and other Internet lowlifes brought to justice--but you also want to protect your online data.

Senators are also preparing alternative cybersecurity legislation--though that didn't work last year, either. Senator John D. (Jay) Rockefeller (D-West Virginia) is sponsoring the Cybersecurity and American Cyber Competitiveness Act of 2013 (as he did a similar 2012 effort that stalled). In a press release posted after the House vote on CISPA, Senator Rockefeller said, "Today's action in the House is important, even if CISPA's privacy protections are insufficient. We need action on all the elements that will strengthen our cybersecurity, not just one, and that's what the Senate will achieve." Reached earlier this week, Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-California), a co-sponsor of the same bill, said, "We are currently drafting a bipartisan information sharing bill and will proceed as soon as we come to an agreement."

The bill as it stands shows the complicated tug of war between online privacy and cybersecurity efforts. The ACLU's Richardson believes that CISPA will inspire the Senate to find a better solution. "Everyone else in this game is looking at something more targeted and strategic and privacy-protected." The imperfect answer is out there somewhere, hopefully with as much protection for the little guy as there seems to be for big data.


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