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Senate approval on the House’s controversial cybersecurity bill CISPA seems unlikely

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The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) is likely to fail if it goes to a vote on the Senate floor, according to comments made today by Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), the chairman of the committee on commerce, science and transportation.

CISPA is a bill that would enable major companies to share cyberthreat data with the government (and each other) to prevent attacks on their networks. Many critics have spoken out against CISPA because it doesn’t specify what information can be shared and what it will be used for beyond preventing cyberattacks. CISPA passed a vote in the House last week despite threats of a presidential veto.

“We’re not taking [CISPA] up,” Rockefeller told U.S. News. “Staff and senators are divvying up the issues and the key provisions everyone agrees would need to be handled if we’re going to strengthen cybersecurity. They’ll be drafting separate bills.”

CISPA isn’t technically dead, because the Senate hasn’t brought the bill to a vote. And even though there’s promise of carving CISPA’s various cybersecurity issues into separate bills, it could easily morph into something that’s very much like the original piece of legislation that was passed by the House.

It’s worth noting that this is the second go-around for CISPA. Last year the bill also passed successfully in the House — and the Senate version of CISPA bill even had the White House stamp of approval. Yet the Senate is also where CISPA met its demise the first time, so maybe there is some hope that Rockefeller’s comments will hold true. Still, the White House is still pushing for some type of cybersecurity legislation to pass into law, and the Obama administration has even laid the groundwork for companies to voluntarily start participating in a CISPA-style coalition.


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