Imagine your favorite website being shut down without warning, for good. This is a possibility. Didn’t we just avoid this issue a few months ago, though?

CISPA Cat iz SpyinCISPA (AKA Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act of 2011) is fast-approaching its limelight in congress, after it’s initial introduction last December. Yet again, Internet security issues come to the table. Just four months ago, SOPA and PIPA were denied approval; they were shelved for later review.

All of these pieces of legislation are meant to amend the National Security Act of 1947, which has not included any reference of cyber crimes, since that was a non-existent concern in 1947.

Many companies are trying to protect their rights and property, which cannot be argued. On the other hand, this legislation also confronts the issue of identity theft and cyber-bullying, which have been in the news quite a bit in recent years. The question is, to what extent will we allow our government to place limitations on freedom of speech?

Some opponents are referring to this new legislation as SOPA 2.0, since the limitations on governmental control are considered extremely low, just like CISPA’s predecessors.

The main arguments for SOPA and PIPA were to prevent theft of ideas, and possible revenue resulting from copyright infringement. The biggest arguments against those bills were that most websites contained some sort of copyright information, and could be shut down after being sued.

For example, if you have a picture of yourself wearing name-brand clothing on your facebook wall, your entire facebook account could be shut down for copyright infringement. Even if no sales occurred from the appearance of copyright information, SOPA and PIPA would support any company from having any website shut down.

CISPA is claimed to be a much lighter version of the previous ideas, and many of the opponents of PIPA/SOPA are more likely to support it. Facebook supports CISPA, where it vehemently opposed the previous legislation.

Since the previous bills experienced such heavy opposition from individuals and business alike, and now CISPA is facing the same concerns, co-sponsors intend to amend the bill to address the issue of few limitations on governmental control. They plan to clarify the meaning of “cyber-threat,” “theft of intellectual property,” and other key terms.

Penalties are now also being suggested to protect against private companies and government from using data gathered through CISPA for purposes “unrelated to cyber threats.” These latest offers to change the legislation are considered a good-faith offer to protect consumers

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