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Senate Commerce Committee suggests CISPA may be dead in the water

Senate Commerce Committee suggests CISPA may be dead in the water

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CISPA, the controversial cybersecurity legislation passed by the House of Representatives last week, may be effectively dead for now. US News has reported that the Senate Commerce Committee, headed by Senator Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), doesn't see the bill being taken up by the Senate. Instead, the committee is working on separate bills that will address cybersecurity but hopefully avoid CISPA's privacy pitfalls. "We're not taking [CISPA] up," says a representative. "Staff and senators are divvying up the issues and the key provisions everyone agrees would need to be handled if we're going to strengthen cybersecurity. They'll be drafting separate bills."

After CISPA was given overwhelming approval in the House, it was referred to the Senate Intelligence Committee, which did not immediately respond for comment. CISPA was referred to the Senate last year as well, but it never passed, forcing the House to vote on the issue again. Now, an anonymous Commerce Committee staff member confirmed to The Verge that they think CISPA is still a no-go, and that it likely won't come up on the Senate floor. Rockefeller has previously said that although he supported cybersecurity legislation, CISPA's privacy protections are "insufficient." The White House has also threatened to veto CISPA, giving the Senate yet another reason to propose its own solution.

That solution could come in the form of bills from Senator Rockefeller and Senator Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), who previously introduced their own Cybersecurity and American Cyber Competitiveness Act to help fight cyber attacks; that bill is currently awaiting debate. In contrast to the House's solution, CISPA opponents hope a Senate bill would allow companies and governmental agencies to communicate but would narrow the scope of what could be shared and place restrictions on the immunity companies get when sharing.