The House, on a vote of 248-168, passed H.R. 3523, the “Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act of 2011 (CISPA).” The legislation is controversial, because it would threaten individuals’ privacy rights, according to numerous groups and the White House. Twenty-three privacy and civil liberties groups sent a last-minute letter (pdf) on Thursday urging a “No” vote against CISPA. The groups wrote: “We are gravely concerned that this bill will allow companies that hold very sensitive and personal information to liberally share it with the government, which could then use the information without meaningful oversight for purposes unrelated to cybersecurity. […] Because votes on key civil liberties amendments have been blocked, our opposition will continue even if amendments made in order by the Rules Committee pass.” Last week, in a letter (pdf) to Congress, 36 groups had written urging members of Congress to vote against the legislation.
This week, President Obama said in a “Statement of Administration Policy” (pdf) that he would veto the legislation. “The sharing of information must be conducted in a manner that preserves Americans’ privacy, data confidentiality, and civil liberties and recognizes the civilian nature of cyberspace. Cybersecurity and privacy are not mutually exclusive. […] Accordingly, the Administration strongly opposes H.R. 3523, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, in its current form.”
The House did not pass CISPA by enough votes to override Obama’s threatened veto. Coverage of the vote — in which 42 Democrats voted for the bill and 28 Republicans voted against it — is available at a variety of publications.