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Controversial cyberthreat bill CISPA may return to Congress

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Updated legislation aims to curb privacy concerns

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After suffering defeat this spring, the controversial legislation aimed at preventing cyberthreats, CISPA, may be returning to the Senate. According to Mother Jones, two senators are now working on a new version of the bill that looks to curb some of the concerns that kept it from initially passing. The goal of the bill will still be to make it easier for private companies to share information with the government regarding cyber threats, however the type of information that can be shared will reportedly be narrower in scope this time around.

The bill won't target American's communications

As the legislation is still being written, it's not clear exactly how different its updated form will be. Mother Jones reports that Senators Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) and Saxby Chambliss (R-GA) are working together to draft the bill. "The goal is to allow and encourage the sharing only of information related to identifying and protecting against cyberthreats, and not the communications and commerce of Americans," Feinstein's office tells Mother Jones in a statement. Feinstein in particular has been a major proponent for facilitating this type of sharing, having also been in support of expanding FISA.

In light of the NSA leaks, Mother Jones suggests that so many companies may have initially stood in support of CISPA — the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act — because it could have granted them protections for handing over information as part of PRISM. But those leaks should only make a reintroduction of CISPA, however limited, all the more disconcerting for privacy advocates. The bill was even called for earlier this month by NSA director General Keith Alexander, who said that legislation must be put in place before the US was hit with a cyberattack. But it's only become more evident since CISPA was defeated how widely the NSA is able to access American citizens' information as it is, and a new bill would only expand those abilities.