So much for President Obama’s election mandate and the notion that Democrats are concerned about privacy. Today, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the controversial Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), which has been caught in the centuries old debate over privacy vs. security. The House passage isn’t particularly interesting, since, like last year, CISPA may die in the Senate. The big news: more than twice as many Democrats voted for CISPA this year than in 2012 (92 vs. 42), meaning that twice as many Democrats show less concern for privacy and less obedience to the White House (which has threatened to veto the bill).
Democrats have stereotypically been the guardian of civil liberties, while Republicans took up the mantel of security hawks. Not so, today.
Even worse for the White House, Democrats did not heed the White House’s warnings that the current bill did not do enough to protect privacy.
CISPA, which would encourage information sharing between Internet companies and intelligence agencies, has received a mixed reaction from Silicon Valley. Google and Facebook have shown ambivalence, IBM supports it, and Reddit and other nonprofit groups vehemently oppose it.
Either way, this does not bode well for those who believed Obama had control over Democrats, or that liberals were guardians of civil liberties.