After stirring up trouble for months, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) died a quiet death in the Senate on Thursday. Despite the bill's passage in the House, Senators decided to pigeonhole the legislation. It was not necessarily a surprising move for the Upper House, especially given the fact that the Obama administration made a veto threat. However, the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation is not completely forgetting about CISPA. "We're not taking [CISPA] up," a committee representative told the press on Thursday. "Staff and senators are divvying up the issues and the key provisions everyone agrees would need to be handled if we're going to strengthen cybersecurity. They'll be drafting separate bills."
So we get a new potentially privacy-crushing and probably problematic cybersecurity bill! Well, we shouldn't really describe the new bill like that since we don't know what will be in the new bill. CISPA was the potentially privacy-crushing and certainly problematic cybersecurity bill that stirred up the type of widespread outrage. It was that zombie of a bill that would enable government agencies more access to your private data. The rage was so thick that some were ever comparing the pushback to the infamous and ultimately successful battle to kill SOPA and PIPA, the anti-piracy bills that would open the gate for government censorship of the Internet. But, as The Atlantic Wire's Rebecca Greenfield explained a year ago, CISPA is worse than SOPA.
Everyone from Anonymous to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) protested the legislation, and just as quietly as the Senator's tabled the bill, privacy advocates cheered its demise. Some skepticism remains, however. "I think it's dead for now," said the ACLU's Michelle Richardson who realizes well how CISPA's been reincarnated in the past. "We need to be vigilant as the year moves on to make sure that whatever the next product is, it's not CISPA-lite," she said. "I think this is probably going to take the rest of the year."