Amid warnings from the White House and civil liberties groups, a trade association representing Google, Yahoo, Microsoft, Oracle, and other tech companies has come out in support of the controversial Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), which passed a House committee vote this week. The Hill reports that the lobbying group, TechNet, sent a letter to the leaders of the House Intelligence panel on Wednesday praising lawmakers for their work on the bill, with TechNet CEO Rey Ramsey writing that "this bill recognizes the need for effective cybersecurity legislation." TechNet's executive council includes Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt, Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer, Microsoft General Counsel Brad Smith, Cisco CEO John Chambers, and other tech executives, whose names are listed in the letter.
CISPA is making its second journey through Congress after failing to make it through the Senate last year. Support for the bill on behalf of tech companies isn't surprising; last year, several prominent corporations supported CISPA, including Facebook, IBM, AT&T, and Microsoft. Few tech companies have opposed the bill — Mozilla and Cheezburger, Inc. topped the list last year — and opposition to CISPA has largely come from interest groups: including the Cato Institute, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Center for Democracy and Technology.
Despite privacy concerns around the possibility of broad information sharing between the government and industry, TechNet seems pleased with the bill's current state, but hints that further privacy protections could be welcomed. "We applaud the committee's efforts to work with a wide range of stakeholders to address issues such as strengthening privacy protections," TechNet's Rey Ramsey writes. "We look forward to continuing the dialogue with you and your colleagues on further privacy protections, including discussions on the role of a civilian interface for information sharing."
CISPA is on its way to the House floor with a vote expected in the next week. From there, it will need to pass the Senate before making its way to the president's desk.