CISPA is another attempt by corporate entities to obtain access to governmental intelligence sources on the Internet. That’s what the fuss is all about. The full text of the bill can be found here.
This bill talks about sharing governmental intelligence information with “certified entities,” but the only requirement to become a certified entity is to demonstrate that you can keep a secret. It doesn’t seem to be necessary that you prove a national security position for your company.
While the bill does talk about not using the information to gain a competitive edge on one’s competition, it is an unenforceable clause. If you have information that gives you a competitive edge, then you automatically have a competitive edge and possession of that information will alter an entity’s activities. It would be foolish to think that anything else could happen.
Another gaping hole in this bill is the failure to define what type of information might be considered as a security threat. For this reason, CISPA essentially opens up all of the information anywhere on the web to the prying eyes of not only the government, but also , for instance, multinational corporations.
As just one example of why this is a problem, if you happened to develop a device that would cut the oil consumption of the U.S. in half, and you submit it for patent via the internet, that submission can be classified as security sensitive, passed on to a corporation with ties in China, and your device could be manufactured there before it gets through the patent process here, which will negate your patent application.
While I have a great deal of apprehension about the kind of intelligence already being gathered by our government, I truly fear what would be done with that information in the hands of private corporations, or worse, multinationals. This is, once again, a thinly veiled attempt by corporate entities to gain advantage over their competitors, advantage over their customers, and advantage over their regulators. This is not a good piece of legislation and the president is right to threaten a veto.