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House Passes CISPA, Should We Brace for Another Blackout?

By Robyn Hagan Cain | Last updated on

Is there anything as delightful as a good Internet protest?

In the old days, you actually had to show up to show your dissatisfaction with a policy. But do you really want to hold a sign at a protest? Your arm will go numb and you'll probably lose your voice from chanting a catchy slogan.

And actual sit-ins? No, thank you. People get pepper-sprayed.

Techie Internet protests are definitely where it's at. Memes and tweets and alternative profile pics. And, of course, the Internet blackout. But, if you were hoping for a SOPA-style Internet blackout to protest CISPA, Congress' latest attempt at beefing up cybersecurity, prepare to be disappointed. As Fast Company explained when Congress considered the bill last year, Google spent a small fortune lobbying against SOPA, but it supports CISPA.

No money, no blackout.

And that brings us to the bill itself. The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act allows companies and the government to share information to prevent network and Internet attacks. Preventing cyberattacks sounds like a reasonable goal, but opponents like the Electronic Frontier Foundation argue that overly-broad language in the bill threatens privacy rights with no judicial oversight.

The U.S. House of Representatives passed the bill on Thursday in a 288-127 vote, TechCrunch reports.

CISPA still faces obstacles in the Senate and the White House. President Obama threatened to veto the bill due to privacy concerns, and the Democrat-controlled Senate won't be eager to pass a bill that the president has openly opposed, CNET reports. Just like last year, CISPA will probably die. But it won't happen against the background of a dramatic Internet blackout.

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