Ever since its introduction, CISPA has had the support of the major tech companies. All of them use the same line about how it helps them protect themselves and consumers from cyberattacks. Civil rights groups and pretty much everybody on the Internet will tell you that it’s an invasion of privacy and violates their fourth amendment rights online (a right a judge recently said doesn’t exist). Now that CISPA has passed the House, however, the real offensive is now beginning as it heads to the Senate.
The pressure being put on companies in support of the bill may be working now as Microsoft has kind of dropped support for the bill. Microsoft issued a statement to CNET stating their kind of support for the bill while citing privacy concerns as their main problem with the bill. Here’s the full statement from Microsoft:
Microsoft has previously stated support for efforts to improve cyber security, and sharing threat information is an important component of those efforts. Improvements to the way this information is shared would help companies better protect customers, and online services in the United States and around the world from criminal attack. Microsoft believes that any proposed legislation should facilitate the voluntary sharing of cyber threat information in a manner that allows us to honor the privacy and security promises we make to our customers.
Legislation passed by the House of Representatives yesterday is a first step in this legislative process. Since November, there has been active, constructive dialogue to identify and address concerns about the House bill, and several important changes were incorporated. We look forward to continuing to work with members of Congress, consumer groups, the civil liberties community and industry colleagues as the debate moves to the Senate to ensure the final legislation helps to tackle the real threat of cybercrime while protecting consumer privacy.
As you can see, it’s not like Microsoft has flat out dropped support for the bill. They still want to see the primary goal of the bill – the sharing of information between companies and government – to be passed. They just now realize that the bill has serious privacy concerns especially after the House refused to hear the amendments that would have made the bill better. They instead passed the bill with even worse amendments tacked on that give the government even more reason to snoop on your online activities.
As CISPA makes it way through the rest of the legislative process, expect the resistance to grow. Even though Microsoft has kind of dropped support, I’m not sure that will be enough to keep them safe from Anonymous’ planned mass protest against the companies who support the bill. The Internet wants CISPA to die even if it does get better. Microsoft wants a better CISPA. The Internet and those that support this kind of legislation will always be at odds. Any kind of Internet regulation will always be seen as an attack on those who live and breathe the Internet.