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Facebook defends support for CISPA monitoring bill

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Iain Thomson
The Register
April 16, 2012

Facebook has issued a statement explained why it is supporting the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) HR 3523, which is currently being considered by Congress.

CISPA would set up a mechanism for the government’s security services to share information on new threats with private companies and utilities. In return, those companies can share data on their users with the government if requested, and the bill ensures they are bulletproof from legal fallout if people complain. Data sharing is voluntary and some data can be stripped of identifying features.

But internet rights campaigners are concerned that the loose language of the legislation will leave it open to be used in a much wider context than national online security. Dan Auerbach, staff technologist with the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), told The Register that the provisions of the bill could be stretched to include sharing data for crimes like piracy.

“The biggest problem with the bill is that it’s too vague,” he explained. “The language in it now is broad enough that it could be used to allow, or compel companies, to do copyright enforcement.”

He explained that while the information exchange was voluntary, the government is adept at encouraging companies to play ball. Access to lucrative federal contracts could be offered to those who are willing to cooperate and compliance might be written into such contracts. It’s a pattern of behavior that’s been noted before, he said.

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This article was posted: Monday, April 16, 2012 at 7:43 am





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