Big Internet Companies Back CISPA
This week, media outlets reported that major software and technology companies have come public with their support of the CISPA proposal recently laid out on the Congressional table, which would increase the power of the US government to monitor online communications. Facebook, Microsoft, IBM, and other Silicon Valley heavy hitters wrote to the Committee on Intelligence to commend them for developing the act. In Facebook's letter, the firm wrote:
Your thoughtful, bipartisan approach will enhance the ability of companies like Facebook to address cyber threats. Effective security requires private and public sector cooperation, and successful cooperation necessitates information sharing. Your legislation removes burdensome rules that currently can inhibit protection of the cyber ecosystem, and helps provide a more established structure for sharing within the cyber community while still respecting the privacy rights and expectations of our users.
Fred Humphries, the Vice President of U.S. Government Affairs at Microsoft, also wrote positively in response to CISPA:
I want to commend Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers and Ranking Member Dutch Ruppersberger for the introduction of the CISPA of 2011. The legislation would seek to eliminate barriers and disincentives that currently prevent effective information sharing to guard against cyber-attacks.
Lifehacker reports that most of the support is due to the transfer of liability and responsibility for cybersecurity that the bill would provide. Currently, the private companies themselves must keep track of user activity on their websites. But CISPA would give that responsibility to a separate government agency, relieving companies of the burden.
However, this has led to certain consumers revolting against companies due to their concern over the implications on user privacy. A number of Netflix users have already canceled their accounts due to the company's support of CISPA and Netflix's creation of a political action committee to work toward passing CISPA. In response, Netflix said, "[The PAC] was not set up for the purpose of supporting SOPA or PIPA. Instead, Netflix has engaged on other issues including network neutrality, bandwidth caps, usage based billing and reforming the Video Privacy Protection Act."