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CNET hosting CISPA town hall meeting April 19: Join us!

Join us at CNET's San Francisco headquarters to discuss a proposed cybersecurity bill that's become surprisingly controversial in the week leading up to a House of Representatives vote.

Join us here at CNET's San Francisco offices on April 19.
Join us here at CNET's San Francisco offices on April 19 to talk about CISPA, privacy, and computer security.
James Martin/CNET

CNET is pleased to announce a public town hall meeting on the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, otherwise known as CISPA, tomorrow evening that we're hosting at our headquarters in San Francisco. (Update: We'll also be live-streaming the event. Click here.)

You're invited! Here's the information about the event, which will be held in our offices in the city's South of Market neighborhood, close to BART, CalTrain, freeways, and the Bay Bridge. The fine folks at Hackers and Founders are helping to organize it in advance of a House of Representatives floor vote expected next week.

CNET (CBS Interactive)
235 Second Street
San Francisco, CA 94105
7 p.m. to 10 p.m. PT

Panelists are: the House Intelligence Committee's senior counsel, Jamil Jaffer; Josh Mendelsohn from Engine Advocacy, which withdrew their opposition to CISPA last weekend; Electronic Frontier Foundation staff technologist Dan Auerbach; Jim Dempsey, vice president for public policy at the Center for Democracy and Technology; Dean Garfield, president of the Information Technology Industry Council; and CNET chief political correspondent Declan McCullagh as moderator. (EFF and CDT dislike CISPA as much as the Information Technology Industry Council loves it, so we're expecting a good exchange.)

Here's an excerpt from what Hackers and Founders have to say (please RSVP with them):

There are huge concerns that this bill trumps any existing privacy and information sharing legislation, and huge concerns that the bill's wording enables voluntary massive data sharing between companies and government, and might open the door to warrant less wiretaps.

Are these concerns valid? Should we get out our tin foil hats? Are there huge problems with National Cyber Security that we as a tech community are ignoring? What legitimate issues or problems is the government trying to fix?

The main reason that CISPA (PDF) is controversial is one section that groups -- including the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the American Library Association, the ACLU, the Republican Liberty Caucus, and TechFreedom -- say will allow Internet companies to hand over confidential customer records and communications to the federal government. The White House has also expressed privacy concerns.

But CISPA has plenty of support among technology firms. The House Intelligence committee proudly lists letters of support from Facebook, Microsoft, Oracle, Symantec, Verizon, AT&T, and Intel (which yesterday called CISPA an "important step forward"). And over two dozen trade associations sent a letter (PDF) yesterday to Congress.

See you at CNET!

Update: Here's our report from the event.

Watch live video from declan_mccullagh on