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Cyber-security: From SOPA to CISPA

WHEN a coalition of internet activists and web companies scuppered the Hollywood-sponsored Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) last year, they warned Congress that future attempts to push through legislation that threatened digital freedoms would be met with a similar response. Now some of them are up in virtual arms again, this time against the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA). This is one of several bills designed to reinforce America’s cyber-defences that were being discussed by the House of Representatives as The Economist went to press this week.Whatever the outcome of the deliberations, the fuss surrounding CISPA is unlikely to die down soon. Its fans, which include companies such as IBM and Intel, say the bill’s provisions will help America defend itself against attempts by hackers to penetrate vital infrastructure and pinch companies’ intellectual property. CISPA’s critics, which include the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a digital-rights group, and Mozilla, the maker of the Firefox web browser, argue that it could achieve that goal without riding roughshod over privacy laws designed to prevent the government getting…

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