The dangers of CISPA

The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) has been recently passed for the second time by the U.S. House of Representatives and is now headed to be voted on in the U.S. Senate.

Even though it is expected that the Senate will reject the bill, privacy-minded individuals, organizations and hacker groups continue to raise awareness about the consequences the passing of such a bill would have for Internet users both in the U.S. and the rest of the world.

When it comes to the problematic aspects of the proposed legislation, the main focus is on the fact that it would allow government agencies and private companies to share users’ data with each other without anonymizing it and without notifying users about it – all in the name of cybersecurity.

But there is one smaller detail that should also raise the ire of users, and that’s that the last-minute amendment to the bill that would prohibit employers from legally asking their employees to share their social media passwords has been shot down and removed from the final version of the bill.

This decision will put the onus of protecting employees’ privacy on the legislators of each of the separate U.S. states. So far, only California, Illinois, Maryland, Delaware, New Jersey and Michigan have made it illegal for government and private employers to request employees or potential employees to share the passwords for their social networking accounts.

A number of tech and security companies have voiced their support for this second version of CISPA, including IBM, Oracle, AT&T, Verizon and Symantec. Some, like Facebook, Microsoft and Google have distanced themselves from it or have not commented on it.

The White House has the power to veto the bill, and has already announced its intention to do it if it passes the Senate. In the meantime – and it could be months before the proposed legislation is presented to the Senators to vote on – both its proponents and opponents are in for a hard campaign.

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