It has only been a couple of months since massive public opposition killed the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) act, but activists are rallying again with the fear that a new bill, titled the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), is empowering the Department of Homeland Security with tools that would effectively do the same thing SOPA did.
CISPA’s nominal concentration on “cybersecurity” has somewhat kept it off the radar, but grants broad information “sharing” powers to the federal government, and freedom to use collected data, including anything gathered on American citizens, in any way they argue will benefit “national security.”
The real SOPA-esque portion of the bill, however, is an explicit clause empowering the federal government to use “cybersecurity systems” to protect intellectual property, which is virtually exactly what the Hollywood-backed SOPA was designed to do.
The bill’s authors defend the clause, insisting that the reference to “intellectual property” is only meant to cover research and development by the US government and not, for instance, a song. Despite this claim, the bill never makes a distinction between the two.