CISPA, a terrible bill that would let websites hand over your personal data to the government with little oversight, just passed the U.S. House of Representatives.
Although the vote was scheduled for tomorrow, in something of a surprise, it took place today, and passed the House 248-168. It’s not law yet, however. It still has to pass the Senate, and President Obama is expected to veto it.
While the bill is still unabashedly a violation of your privacy rights—nearly anything you say or do online can be handed over to the government without so much as a warrant—the version of the bill that passed this afternoon at least isn’t quite as bad as it had been in its original form. As CNET points out, one amendment was withdrawn before the proceedings that would have given the Department of Homeland Security sweeping and, more importantly, superseding authority. When it was in, CISPA would have been a DHS trump card, essentially, overruling any local or state legislation that contradicted it.
That doesn’t, though, mean that you should stop worrying about CISPA. As the EFF makes all too clear, the truly concerning parts of the bill—the ones that give the government the right to conduct surveillance on your Internet everything without your knowledge or permission—are firmly in place.
What’s perhaps most surprising, and in some ways most damning, about today’s vote was the timing. It had been planned for tomorrow, Friday, for some time, and was pushed up to this afternoon.