One of the primary obstacles to fighting the House's very dangerous
cybersecurity bill, CISPA, is that technology and internet companies have largely supported it. They were a key ally in fighting the last bad internet bill, SOPA, but have been missing from this fight.
That could be changing, if Microsoft can lead the way. The company is now backing off previous support because of privacy issues opponents have been hammering on for weeks.
In response to queries from CNET, Microsoft, which has long been viewed as a supporter of the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, said this evening that any law must allow "us to honor the privacy and security promises we make to our customers."
Microsoft added that it wants to "ensure the final legislation helps to tackle the real threat of cybercrime while protecting consumer privacy."
Microsoft does support, or at least testified in support of, the Cybersecurity Act introduced in the Senate by Joe Lieberman (I-VT) and Susan Collins (R-ME), saying it provides "an appropriate framework to improve the security of government and critical infrastructure systems," which will be "flexible enough to permit future improvements to security."
Ironically, passage of the extreme CISPA bill in the House could possibly work to make the Senate version of the bill better, strengthening privacy protections. Microsoft's stance could help, there. The Senate, though, also has some actual teeth in making the private sector step up their own security, something that Republicans insist is job-killing regulation. That could kill any prospect of this bill going anywhere before the end of the session.