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Last year, backers argued that CISPA was necessary to protect the US against cyber attacks from countries like China and Iran, but opponents said that it would allow companies to easily hand over users' private information to the government.
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Controversial CISPA Cyber-Security Bill Returns
A controversial cyber-security bill will return next week when Reps. Mike Rogers and C.A. "Dutch" Ruppersberger reintroduce the measure in the House.

The congressmen - chairman and ranking member of the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence, respectively - will bring the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) back to life next Wednesday, Feb. 13.

The duo will discuss their plans in a speech at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) in Washington, D.C. that day, but they said in a Friday press release that the bill they plan to introduce will be identical to the one that passed the House last year.

CISPA would allow for voluntary information-sharing between private companies and the government in the event of a cyber attack. Last year, backers argued that it's necessary to protect the US against cyber attacks from countries like China and Iran, but opponents said that it would allow companies to easily hand over users' private information to the government.

"This is clearly not a theoretical threat - the recent spike in advanced cyber attacks against the banks and newspapers makes that crystal clear," Rep. Rogers said in a statement. "American businesses are under siege. We need to provide American companies the information they need to better protect their networks from these dangerous cyber threats. It is time to stop admiring this problem and deal with it immediately. Congress urgently needs to pass our cyber threat information sharing bill to protect our national security, our economy, and US jobs."

Rep. Ruppersberger agreed, and said "we need to do everything we can to enable American companies to defend themselves against these devastating cyber attacks. Our bill does just that by permitting the voluntary sharing of critical threat intelligence while preserving important civil liberties."

Specifically, CISPA would: let the federal government provide classified cyber threat information to private companies so those firms could better protect themselves against cyber attacks; let American businesses share information about cyber threats with the feds and other companies on a voluntary basis; and provide liability for companies that choose to protect their own networks or share threat information.

The congressmen said the bill includes restrictions on the government's use and retention of any data they might receive from a private company, and would allow individuals to sue the government if they believe their privacy has been violated. An independent Intelligence Community Inspector General would review the government's use of any information voluntarily shared by the private sector, and provide an unclassified report to Congress.

CISPA would also expire after five years, and require congressional action to be renewed.

The House passed CISPA in April 2012, but efforts to get it passed in the Senate before the end of the last session were unsuccessful. In July, several top senators unveiled a revised version of cyber-security legislation they had been trying to get passed for years, which incorporated some elements of CISPA, but it didn't pass.

The White House last year also threatened to veto CISPA.

The bill comes amidst revelations of various high-profile hacks in recent weeks - from the New York Times to the Federal Reserve to the Energy Department.


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