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Despite complaints by online activists and privacy advocates that the measure would allow agents of the U.S. government to make dangerous intrusions into Internet privacy, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, known as CISPA for short, breezed through the Republican-controlled House of Representatives this past Thursday on a 288 to 127 vote, with 17 not voting.


The San Diego GOP delegation, consisting of Duncan Hunter and Darrell Issa, lined up behind the measure.

Democrat Susan Davis voted no, but the county's two freshman Democrats, Scott Peters and Juan Vargas, joined the Republicans in voting yes.

After the vote, Peters rushed out a statement linking the issue to control of terrorism and playing up the business that the measure would bring San Diego's high tech security sector:

“Today’s action helps protect us against cyber attacks that could cripple our infrastructure and our national security, and cost our country untold amounts of money and jobs,” he said. “It’s important for us to act before, not after, a devastating attack that would leave us wishing we had acted sooner.”

As a center for technology and research in the public, private, and defense sectors, San Diego will be at the heart of the nascent cyber security industry as it develops strategies to protect the interests of American consumers and commercial entities into the future.

Major tech corporations, including Microsoft and Apple, have reportedly been chary about publicly coming out in favor of the controversial measure, though lobbying groups for the computing and wireless industries have strongly backed it.

Jot Carpenter, Vice President of Government Affairs for CTIA, the giant wireless industry trade association on whose board San Diego-based Qualcomm and Microsoft both have representatives, issued a victory statement after the vote:

CTIA congratulates Chairman Rogers and Congressman Ruppersberger on passage of their legislation, and we thank those members of Congress who voted in favor of this bill.

As we have said in the past, the enactment of a voluntary information-sharing framework, like the one in this bill, is the single most important thing the government can do to help the wireless industry enhance its cybersecurity posture.

I hope today’s bipartisan vote sends a strong signal to the Senate that this bill is a good place to start its work.

According to his campaign finance disclosure statement for the first quarter of this year, dated April 15 and posted online by the Federal Election Commission, Peters benefited handsomely from a series of cyber industry-linked contributions made during the weeks leading up to his vote of CISPA approval.

The best known industry name on the list is Kurt DelBene of Medina, Washington, president of the Office software division of Microsoft, who gave $2600 on March 21.

Interestingly, DelBene's wife Suzan, like Peters a wealthy Democrat elected to Congress last November, voted against CISPA and issued a statement explaining her opposition:

“While I support the goals of this legislation, the CISPA bill voted on by the House today unfortunately does not offer necessary protections to safeguard Americans’ privacy and constitutional rights.

It grants immunity to corporations that don’t protect the personal information of customers that they freely share with the federal government.

This bill doesn’t do enough to prevent personally identifiable information or the private communications of individuals from being collected by federal agencies. This is inconsistent with our nation’s values regarding individual privacy.

Other contributors to Peters included William Ganon, listed as senior vice president of Verve Wireless, who formerly worked for Qualcomm. He gave $2600 on March 24.

Michelle Ganon, listed at the same La Jolla address, also kicked in $2600 the same day. Her occupation is listed as director of marketing and communications for the San Diego Unified Port District, where Peters was once on the commission.

Daniel H. Weiner, a lawyer with Hughes Hubbard in Manhattan, and his wife each gave $5200 on March 1.

According to the firm's website, Weiner is head of Hughes Hubbard's Commercial Litigation practice, and a partner in the International and Domestic Arbitration and Intellectual Property Disputes groups.

Another Peters donor was La Jollan Bill Gurtin, listed as CEO of Gurtin Fixed Income, who gave $5200 on March 28. Gurtin is a star player in a YouTube video promoting Qualcomm's mobile medical technology, in which he says, "technology has saved my life."

Alan Robert Viterbi, a son of Qualcomm co-founder Andrew Viterbi, gave $1000 on March 29.

La Jolla's Kurt Eve, chairman and CEO of Bermuda Digital Communications, which runs cell phone service in the Islands of Bermuda, gave $2600 on March 7. Jennifer Eve of the same address gave the same, also on March 7.

Amy L. Corton of La Jolla, development director for PCI Global, came up with $5200 on March 15. Sponsors of the San Diego-based non-profit, according to its website, include the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Qualcomm Wireless Reach.

We have a call into the local office of Peters seeking more details on the campaign’s recent fundraising activities.

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