McCullough explains that the legislation “authorizes federal agencies to conduct warrantless searches of information they obtain from e-mail and Internet providers,” meaning that allows government agencies to collect vast amounts of data from private companies.
Furthermore, the bill overrides existing privacy policies and wiretap laws, so the feds would be able to “compile a database of information shared by private companies and search that information for possible violations of hundreds, if not thousands, of criminal laws.”
The House Intelligence committee contends that any claim that “this legislation creates a wide-ranging government surveillance program” is untrue.
But groups including the ACLU and Electronic Frontier Foundation argue that the bill allows for collection of potentially sensitive such as Internet records and contents of emails which could then be used “without meaningful oversight for purposes unrelated to cybersecurity.”
CISPA now heads to the Senate and could soon end up on the President Obama’s desk to potentially sign into law. Earlier this week senior White House advisers recommended that the president veto the bill, citing concerns that the bill does not adequately prevent sharing of irrelevant personal information.