Convoluted Cybersecurity Act gets voted down in the Senate

Congress

The Lieberman-Collins Cyber Security Act was defeated in the Senate today by a vote of 52-46 — four senators shy of its requirement to move forward.

The Senate bill was a response to the House’s Cyber Intelligence Security Protection Act (CISPA), which sought to give American companies more legal breathing room when collecting and sharing consumer/user data in the scope of Internet security threats. The Republican-led House passed CISPA back in April, despite lots of backlash from Internet users, special interest groups, and even rumblings of a presidential veto. Critics said CISPA sacrificed a person’s privacy rights and had the potential to censor free speech without public knowledge — among other things.

The Cyber Security Act, by contrast, wanted to address all of these problems through various amendments, in part by requiring authorities to obtain a warrant for personal online data when charging them with a crime. More than 200 amendments were filed to change the bill, which invited lots of debate on both sides of the aisle.

The Senate bill, which was led by Senate Democrats, also put much more emphasis on protecting the country’s financial system and electric grid from malicious activity by hackers, and included amendments to other privacy laws that are vague regarding online activity. Republicans said the bill raised too many questions to gain approval.

The failed vote means Congress won’t address the issue of cybersecurity until at least 2013, according to The Hill.

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