CISPA (the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act) is something that opponents of SOPA, PIPA, and ACTA should be paying attention to. While the goal of the bill purports to be about "cybersecurity," the bill contains vague language that allows companies to spy on Internet users and collect and share this data with third-party companies or Government agencies. The loophole for companies is that they can simply say that violating users' privacy rights were necessary to protect against cybersecurity threats, to gain immunity from civil and criminal liabilities.
Legal experts have warned that the next phase of anti-copyright bills is to use important issues as cover. While CISPA is not anything like SOPA or other bills hated by most everyone on the Internet, it does seem to directly target individual Internet subscribers who might also be copyright infringers.
While the definition of what a cybersecurity threat might be is rather vague, intellectual property is mentioned in the bill. CISPA defines a cybersecurity purpose as:
“A system designed or employed to [...] protect a system or network from [...] theft or misappropriation of [...] intellectual property.”
The EFF is sounding alarm bells about this new bill, saying that it has no restrictions on what data companies can collect:
"There are almost no restrictions on what can be collected and how it can be used, provided a company can claim it was motivated by ‘cybersecurity purposes’," the EFF writes. "That means a company like Google, Facebook, Twitter, or AT&T could intercept your emails and text messages, send copies to one another and to the government, and modify those communications or prevent them from reaching their destination if it fits into their plan to stop cybersecurity threats."
CISPA has support from over 100 lawmakers in Congress, trade groups such as the BSA and US Chamber of Commerce, and technology firms like Facebook, Microsoft and Verizon.