: Responding to criticism from privacy advocates, the House Intelligence Committee announced changes
to the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) on Monday.
CISPA would tear down legal barriers that discourage companies from sharing information about cyberattacks, but privacy groups warn the legislation could lead companies to hand over personal user information to spy agencies.
The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Center for Democracy and Technology, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and other groups are leading a week of protests
against the legislation.
Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.), the committee's ranking member, said in a statement the changes "show a good faith effort to continue to work with interested parties to improve the bill."
Commitee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) said the lawmakers "appreciate all the constructive feedback and input we have received."
The new draft of the bill uses a different definition for a "cyber threat" that leaves out any reference to intellectual property infringement. Critics had warned that the bill's definition was so broad that it could include people illegally downloading music and movies.
The new provision defines a cyber-threat as an effort to "gain unauthorized access to a system or network."
But Michele Richardson, legislative counsel for the ACLU, said the new language is still too vague.
"It could probably be interpreted broadly enough to include [intellectual property] anyway," she said.
But a House Republican aide called Richardson's interpretation a "misreading" of the bill and said the provision is meant to protect companies from hackers trying to steal business secrets.
The new draft would also require that the Homeland Security Department have access to all information shared with the government. Privacy advocates prefer that a domestic agency like Homeland Security play a central role in the information-sharing process instead of a spy agency like the National Security Agency.
Richardson said the change does little to address privacy advocates concerns about NSA and other military agencies accessing users' private data.
The new draft would give people and companies the right to sue the government if it mishandles the information. The Republican aide said the new provision "gives the privacy protections very strong teeth."