Google’s support for CISPA would be unsurprising, given that the company reportedly sought help from the NSA when its networks were attacked by Chinese hackers in December of 2009.
The reason many companies will support CISPA is that they want more protection from industrial espionage attacks, and also want more legal protections when they cooperate with the government.
The problem is that, despite significant changes made to the language of the bill in recent days, it still provides a loophole in existing privacy laws, and enables companies to share user data with government agencies in a less-than-transparent way.
Privacy advocates want clear definitions of what kind of information can be shared, as well as controls and limits on how that information is used.
Many are calling for SOPA- and PIPA-style boycotts and protest action. But I don’t see that happening.
The reason is that, unlike in those cases, key companies really want some version of CISPA passed into law.
The privacy advocates and concerned citizens who want CISPA killed outright will not find a lot of powerful allies in this fight like they did with SOPA and PIPA.
I think the most likely outcome is that the bill will be softened further, debated then passed into law.
The debate on CISPA will probably grow more heated in the weeks to come. And although you’re going to see few companies boldly voicing support (cowed by the reaction of the public to companies that publicly supported SOPA), you’re also not going to see a lot of companies voicing opposition, either.
With the government strongly in favor of CISPA, US industry quietly in favor and the general public ambivalent, I’m afraid the privacy advocates are nearly alone on this one.
The best they can hope for is to get as many changes to the bill as they can before it passes, which I believe it will.
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