Will New Cybersecurity Bill Lock Down Security or Invade Our Privacy?

by Ostatic Staff - Oct. 28, 2015

The U.S. Senate has just approved a sweeping new cybersecurity information sharing bill that has been very controversial due to concerns that it doesn't do enough to encourage the business community to share information about threats and that it will do little to actually protect Americans' online security or privacy. The upshot of the bill, which has a number of provisions, is that it aims for better sharing of information between private companies and the government on cybersecurity threats.

However, a lot of tech companies had opposed it.

The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) (S.754) passed by a vote of 74-21 after one day of debate. According to Computerworld:

"Companies are sometimes hesitant to reveal details of breaches because it might put them at risk of lawsuits, but the CISA provides immunity from such actions. Its supporters, which include major industry groups and the White House, say the bill and its protections will lead to a better and more coordinated defense against cyberattacks on U.S. businesses and organizations."

 The problem, of course, is that with immunity protection, companies may feel no qualms about revealing far more personal information about customers and partners than they ever did before. Immunity has powerful consequences.

As The Guardian notes, the Senate has just passed...:

"....a spying bill that essentially carves a giant hole in all our privacy laws and allows tech and telecom companies to hand over all sorts of private information to intelligence agencies without any court process whatsoever. Make no mistake: Congress has passed a surveillance bill in disguise, with no evidence it’ll help our security."

 A huge consortium of recognized computer scientists and engineers were against the bill, as were cyberlaw professors.

There will be continuing debate about this bill, but for now it has sailed through obstacles.