The less-controversial CISPA bill is paying another visit to the White House in 2013.
Ruppersberger's staff is reportedly working with the White House to "smooth over concerns" it had with the bill last year. The White House stamped a veto on the bill last spring, saying that President Obama's top advisers would recommend a veto if the bill reached his desk. Discussions have so far been positive and "working pretty well," Ruppersberger said.
"We're working on some things…working with the White House to make sure that hopefully they can be more supportive of our bill than they were the last time," Ruppersberger told The Hill.
CISPA was first introduced to the House back in November 2011 as a means for the government to investigate cyber threats, and to ensure that the security of America's networks was capable of thwarting cyber attacks. This meant that internet traffic information could be shared between the government (Homeland Security), the intelligence community and private companies.
The bill was widely supported by the likes of AT&T, Facebook and Microsoft which said previous legal hurdles slowed down the information sharing process relating to cyber threats. But privacy advocates and civil liberties groups lashed out, saying that the bill lacked sufficient privacy protections, that there weren’t enough limits regarding how and when the government could spy on a web surfer's browsing information.
The White House was just as concerned about the bill, unsure if CISPA would protect the American people and their personal information when companies share their cyber threat-based data with Washington. Both Rogers and Ruppersberger argued that there were plenty of safeguards in place, but they didn't convince the public and the government even after the bill was modified to be more privacy-friendly.
One problem CISPA had was that it arrived in Washington along with the Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA. This was a hugely unpopular bill because copyrighted intellectual property theft would be shared with the government. Web sites posting infringing material would be blacklisted even if the infringement was unintentional.
As an example, a PC gamer could make a quick video of gameplay and upload it to YouTube which in turn could be inserted into any website across the Internet, Those website could thus be blacklisted by search engines and ISPs because the PC gamer in the video was also quietly playing a copyrighted song in the background.
With CISPA entering Washington again without its controversial SOPA sidekick, Ruppersberger is seemingly betting on CIA head John Brennan, a former counter-terrorism adviser for the White House, to help warm up the Obama administration with the idea behind the proposed bill. Brennan previously worked on cybersecurity policy and with the House Intelligence Committee on the issue.