It's a lawmaker's dream: a bill with wide support in both parties and from many business sectors. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers, R-Mich., and ranking member Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Md., shepherded their Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act out of committee last December on a 17-1 vote. The bill boasts more than 100 cosponsors, and a range of business interests have heralded it as an important way to boost American cyberdefenses.
But as the House prepares to consider the legislation commonly known as CISPA plus a range of related proposals next week, it is clear that the debate over cybersecurity is still haunted by the ghost of the Stop Online Piracy Act and its Senate counterpart, which went down in a blaze of online protests and bitter debate in January. That specter has opponents of CISPA and other cybersecurity bills hoping to replicate the success of the SOPA protests, and has members of Congress doing everything possible to make sure they don't.
Originally blessed with bipartisan support, SOPA lost eight cosponsors within days of the protest, and the bill never made it out of the House Judiciary Committee, despite the sponsorship of Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas. The Protect IP Act, which mirrored some of SOPA's proposals, cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee by voice vote but was also scuttled after the protests.
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