A Republican filibuster has delayed consideration of The Cybersecurity Act of 2012, the companion bill to the controversial Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) which recently passed the House. While chances are slim for similar legislation to be passed this year with an upcoming election and Congress' dwindling session, both parties in Congress, and the Obama administration, have expressed strong support for some type of cybersecurity bill. As The New York Times notes, the Senate's version of the bill was brought down today by a number of disagreeable amendments, and opposition from groups like the US Chamber of Commerce over potential economic burdens — not over privacy concerns.
CISPA raised alarms with privacy and civil liberties advocates because it would have allowed businesses to share private data about their customers with the government, including US intelligence agencies, without liability, and outside of all existing federal and state privacy laws. While opponents of CISPA and its companion bill are claiming victory, neither bill is truly dead. In response to the 52 to 46 vote today, the White House condemned the delay, stating that failure to pass a cybersecurity bill is "a profound disappointment." With legislators like John McCain (R-Arizona) and Joe Lieberman (I-Connecticut) jockeying to measure their reputation on national defense, and privacy-sensitive senators like Al Franken (D-Minnesota) pushing alternatives, it's a good bet that security-obsessed Congress will soon revisit these bills.