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House passes CISPA bill

The US House of Representatives voted to approve CISPA, the much criticized legislation that aims to protect businesses from cyber attacks.

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In this Oct. 8, 2012 file photo, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., left, and the committee's ranking Democrat, Rep. C.A. "Dutch" Ruppersberger, D-Md., participate in a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington. The House passed the CISPA Thursday.

J. Scott Applewhite

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Pro-business legislation aimed at helping companies fend off sophisticated foreign hackers sailed through the House on Thursday despite a White House veto threat and an outcry from privacy advocates and civil liberties groups that say it leaves Americans vulnerable to spying by the military.

The House vote, 288-127, puts the spotlight on the Senate, which hasn't taken up the issue and is consumed with other high-profile issues such as gun control and immigration. The lack of enthusiasm in the Senate and objections by the White House mean that the legislation is in limbo despite an aggressive push by lobbyists representing nearly every corner of industry.

The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, or CISPA, is widely backed by industry groups that say businesses are struggling to defend themselves against aggressive and sophisticated attacks from hackers in China, Russia and Eastern Europe.

Hackers haven't been able to deliver crippling blows to the U.S. economy or infrastructure, but they have been able to wreak havoc on some key commercial systems. Most recently several news outlets including the New York Times acknowledged that their systems had been penetrated, while banks are said to be quietly fighting daily intrusions. North Korea was recently held responsible for a cyberattack that shut down tens of thousands of computers and servers at South Korean broadcasters and banks.

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