The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act is a controversial bill, promoted by supporters as a cyber-security solution and decried by detractors as a threat to online privacy, which has failed in two previous federal-level legislative sessions. The 112th and 113th congresses considered the bill, but pushback from civil rights groups and tech giants ultimately stopped CISPA in its tracks. Now, in the wake of a widely-publicized hack targeting employees at Sony Pictures Entertainment, The Hill is reporting that Maryland Democratic Representative Dutch Ruppersberger has revived the legislation and reintroduced it before the US House of Representatives last Friday.
“The reason I’m putting [the] bill in now is I want to keep the momentum going on what’s happening out there in the world,” said Ruppersberger, referring specifically to the Sony hack in comments to The Hill. The technology publications Techdirt and Gizmodo argued that CISPA would not have prevented the hacking of Sony Pictures Entertainment, and Techdirt characterized Ruppesburger as “the NSA’s personal Rep in Congress,” noting the fact that “NSA HQ is in his district.”
Roll Call pointed out the fact that Representative Ruppersberger himself does not believe that the bill will prevail and said to CQ, “I realize this is not going to pass in this form with me as a Democrat.” However, he said he reintroduced the bill to keep the pressure on in an effort to win Republican representatives over to his cause. In previous legislative sessions, Republican Representative Mike Rogers helped push for the bill, but Rogers has since retired from Congress.
Pirate Times contacted Representative Ruppersberger and obtained a draft copy of the new version of the legislation, which would grant sweeping new online spy powers to federal agencies including the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Defense, and the National Security Agency, among others.
Representative Ruppersberger serves on the House Intelligence Committee, which is considering the legislation. The newest version of CISPA has also been referred to the Judiciary, Armed Services, and Homeland Security committees for consideration. Though Ruppersberger has yet to find cosponsors for the bill, he told The Hill, ““I’m putting the bill in by myself… hopefully that will create momentum.”