Business, Economics and Jobs

House passes CISPA amid criticism and controversy


Protesters demonstrate against the proposed Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and Protect IP Act (PIPA) outside the offices of U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) and U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) on January 18, 2012 in New York City. The controversial legislation is aimed at preventing piracy of media but those opposed believe it will support censorship.


Mario Tama

The US House of Representatives passed the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection ACT (CISPA) In an outpouring of bipartisan support and cooperation Thursday evening.

Flying in the face of a White House veto threat, the house voted 248 to 168 in favor of the bill, sending it off to the Senate for further approval before it heads to the desk of President Barak Obama. CISPA was not passed until the bill’s authors added a number of amendments, some adding more privacy protections for private citizens into the legislation. 

Internet freedom advocates like the Electronic Frontiers Foundation and publications like Techdirt said the amendments were not enough to ensure citizens’ protection from online surveillance. 

More from GlobalPost: White House threatens CISPA veto

When news about the controversial bill first began to break across the internet, activists were quick to label the legislation the new SOPA in an attempt to rally the web against the bill in a similar fashion. However, as the news broke on Thursday, opposition to the bill was nowhere near as fervent or widespread as it had been against SOPA. 

Anonymous brought down websites belonging to Boeing, TechAmerica and USTelecom earlier this month to protest their support of the bill. But the collective remained unusually silent Thursday evening. A YouTube account associated with Anonymous released a video following the passing of CISPA that called on Americans to “sign petitions, call your Congressmen, and kill this act in the Senate.”

The video was a departure from their normally militarized rhetoric, which normally make declarations of war and threats against the US government.