On Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a controversial bill known as the Cybersecurity bill. It allows private enterprise to exchange information that is confidential with the U.S. government. CISPA – the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, was passed by a vote of 248-162. It is designed to help defend networks in the U.S. against a cyber attack.
The legislation has been threatened with a veto by the White House. The administration says it fails to protect people’s privacy and overlooks companies that do not secure many networks that are critical to the security of the nation.
On Thursday, John Boehner, the House Speaker, dismissed the White House’s concerns over privacy.
“The White House says the government should control the Web, the government should set standards, plus the government should take care of all in the way of cybersecurity,” commented Boehner. “They are all alone on this, because as private industry, the government cannot control the Internet.”
Under the new Act, private companies are allowed to voluntarily exchange information that is for cybersecurity with other businesses and the government. The same holds true for the government. It can also share information that is classified with private companies. Participation by private companies is voluntary.
Groups defending civil liberties have raised a number of concerns. Some of them say the bill allows employers the chance to spy on its employees and then has the authority to share that same information with the federal government, all for the sake of national security.