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BSA mourns death of US cyber snooping bill

Business Software Alliance slams lame duck vote
Thu Nov 15 2012, 13:54

SOFTWARE LICENSING ENFORCER the Business Software Alliance (BSA) is reeling and clutching its pearls in the realisation that the US Congress has dropped the snooper friendly Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA).

CISPA was voted down in the US Senate on Wednesday and is now all but dead, at least for this year. It has many opponents, but the BSA was one of its corporate supporters and is rather upset.

"It is disappointing that senators haven't yet been able to reach an agreement on cybersecurity legislation - but stalemate doesn't make the issue go away," said BSA president and CEO Robert Holleyman in a statement.

"There is no getting around the fact that we need to bolster America's cybersecurity capabilities. We urge both parties to put this issue at the top of the agenda in the next Congress."

Holleyman's press statement came out under the BSA headline, "After Failed Lame Duck Vote, BSA Urges Renewed Focus on Cybersecurity in 2013".

These sentiments were echoed in the US Congress. Senate majority leader Harry Reid lamented the rejection of CISPA, saying that not approving the bill leaves the US wide open to cyber attack.

"National security experts say there is no issue facing this nation more pressing than the threat of a cyber attack on our critical infrastructure. Terrorists bent on harming the United States could all too easily devastate our power grid, our banking system or our nuclear plants," he said, playing on largely imaginary internet security fears.

"A bipartisan group of Senators has worked for three years to craft this legislation. Yet Republicans filibustered this worthy measure in July. It's imperative that Democrats and Republicans work together to address what national security experts have called 'the most serious challenge to our national security since the onset of the nuclear age sixty years ago'."

While the senator said that CISPA was "crafted", that view is not shared by the Electronic Frontier Foundation. It described CISPA as "dangerously vague" and working in favour of corporate interests to the detriment of individual rights.

"We're looking forward to having a more informed debate about cybersecurity next session, and hope Congress will bear in mind the serious privacy interests of individual Internet users. We don't need to water down existing privacy law to address the challenges of cybersecurity," said EFF senior staff attorney Lee Tien. µ


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