Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act of 2011

Definition of Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act of 2011

The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) of 2011 is a proposed US legislative bill aimed at enhancing cybersecurity through improved information sharing between private companies and government entities. It allows companies to voluntarily share data regarding cyber threats with the government and other organizations without fear of liability. However, its critics argue that CISPA could compromise user privacy and online civil liberties by enabling excessive surveillance.



Key Takeaways

  1. The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) was introduced in 2011 to improve cybersecurity by enabling private companies and the government to share information on potential cyber threats and vulnerabilities.
  2. CISPA faced criticism for concerns about privacy and civil liberties, as the act allowed companies to share users’ personal data with the government without any legal liability and minimal privacy protections.
  3. Although CISPA passed in the House of Representatives, it ultimately did not become a law as it failed to pass in the Senate, with the Obama administration threatening to veto the bill due to privacy concerns.

Importance of Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act of 2011

The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) of 2011 is a significant piece of legislation as it aims to enhance cybersecurity in the United States by fostering improved communication and collaboration between the public and private sectors.

It allows private companies to voluntarily share cybersecurity threat information with the federal government and other approved entities, while offering some liability protections for the participating organizations.

Although proponents argue that CISPA is vital for national security and the protection of critical infrastructure, critics express concerns that the act may infringe on privacy rights and civil liberties due to its potential for broad information sharing without adequate safeguards in place.

Hence, the importance of CISPA lies in its potential to shape the balance between enhancing cybersecurity and upholding the privacy rights of citizens.


The main purpose of the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act of 2011 (CISPA) is to facilitate the sharing of cyber threat information between the government and the private sector in order to bolster the nation’s cybersecurity. CISPA is designed to assist in the detection, identification, and response to potential cyber threats by allowing companies to share pertinent information with federal agencies while maintaining the privacy and civil liberties of individuals.

This collaboration aims to enable a quicker response time to threats, minimizing the potential damage from cyber attacks on critical infrastructure and valuable networks. CISPA has been used for ensuring the defense of businesses and governmental organizations from cyber attacks that could lead to data breaches, theft of sensitive information, or impairment of crucial systems.

By sharing information on potential threats and vulnerabilities, both the government and private companies are able to stay ahead of hackers, bolster cybersecurity measures, and develop better strategies for tackling cybercriminals. Although there have been concerns about how this act might infringe upon individual privacy, the proponents of CISPA argue that the benefits of protecting national security and minimizing the impact of cybercrimes far outweigh the potential risks.

Examples of Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act of 2011

The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) of 2011 aimed to facilitate the sharing of cyber threat intelligence between private companies and the U.S. government. Although it ultimately did not pass into law, below are three real-world examples of the technology that would have been impacted and enabled by CISPA:

Financial Institutions: Under CISPA, financial institutions like banks and credit card companies could have collaborated with the government to identify and counter threats like Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks and other hacking attempts targeted at stealing users’ personal and financial information. For example, in 2012, major US banks faced a series of DDoS attacks from a group claiming to be from Iran. CISPA would have allowed these banks to share cyber threat information with the government for better defense in real-time.

Electric Grid and Utility Companies: Cyberattacks on critical infrastructure such as power plants, dams, and gas pipelines can cause significant damage to a nation’s infrastructure and economy. In 2015, a cyberattack on Ukraine’s power grid left thousands without electricity. If CISPA had been in place, infrastructure companies could have shared information on these threats with the government, enabling a quicker response and enhancing the nation’s cyber defense capabilities.

Retail and E-commerce platforms: Retail giants like Target and eBay have faced significant data breaches that have compromised millions of users’ personal and financial information. CISPA would have allowed these companies to rapidly share information regarding the attacks and coordinate with the government to identify and stop attackers. In the 2013 Target breach, for example, hackers stole data from more than 40 million credit and debit card accounts; a more efficient sharing of cyber threat intelligence could have potentially mitigated the impact of such an attack.

FAQ Section: Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act of 2011

What is the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act of 2011?

The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) of 2011 is a proposed legislation that aims to facilitate the sharing of cyber threat intelligence between private companies and the U.S. government. The main goal of this act is to help protect critical infrastructure and networks from cyber-attacks and data breaches by improving collaboration between different stakeholders.

Why was CISPA introduced?

CISPA was introduced to address the growing problem of cyber threats and to enhance the United States’ ability to counteract such threats effectively. This act was an attempt to create a more effective system for sharing intelligence and informations on potential cyber attacks, intrusions, and vulnerabilities.

What are the main provisions of CISPA?

The primary provisions of CISPA involve the voluntary sharing of cyber threat intelligence between private sector entities and the government. Companies that participate in this information sharing are granted liability protection, ensuring they are not exposed to lawsuits for sharing threat data. Additionally, the act provides guidance and oversight on how this shared information can be used by the government.

What are the privacy concerns related to CISPA?

Some privacy advocates and organizations argue that CISPA could lead to violations of privacy rights, as the act could potentially allow for extensive data sharing without proper limits and safeguards. They also express concerns about how shared information might be used by the government and whether it could result in unauthorized surveillance or misuse of personal data.

What is the current status of CISPA?

The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act was initially passed by the U.S. House of Representatives in 2012 and 2013; however, it did not progress through the Senate. As of now, CISPA has not been reintroduced, but similar cybersecurity information sharing legislation has been enacted, such as the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) in 2015.

Related Technology Terms

  • Cybersecurity
  • Information Sharing
  • Privacy Protection
  • Threat Intelligence
  • Public-Private Partnerships

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