House votes life sentences for hackers

Thursday, 14 November 2002, 4:43 PM EST

The U.S. House of Representatives on Wednesday evening voted 299 to 121 to approve the bill, which would reshape large portions of the federal bureaucracy into a new department combining parts of 22 existing federal agencies, including the Secret Service, the Coast Guard, and the FBI's National Infrastructure Protection Center.

During closed-door negotiations before the debate began, the House Republican leadership inserted the 16-page Cyber Security Enhancement Act (CSEA) into the Homeland Security bill. CSEA expands the ability of police to conduct Internet or telephone eavesdropping without first obtaining a court order, and offers Internet providers more latitude to disclose information to police.

In July, the full House approved CSEA by a 385-to-3 vote, but it died in the Senate. By inserting CSEA into the Homeland Security bill, the measure's backers are hoping for a second chance before Congress adjourns for the holidays.

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