Senators Rounds and Thune dealt a severe blow to consumer privacy when they helped to pass Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) on Oct 27th 2015. From Senator Round’s press release,
The bipartisan cyber security bill we passed in the Senate today will help protect Americans from such cyber-attacks by allowing companies to share information about cyber-threats to prevent other businesses from falling victim to similar threats. It does so while protecting Americans’ private information from being shared and is 100 percent voluntary.
It’s already clear that the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) isn’t really needed, and may actually make the nation’s cyber-security worse. So why then, has the Senate Intelligence Committee along with Senator Thune and the Republican leadership been pushing so hard to pass this seemingly bad legislation? I think the answer may lay in its true purpose, domestic surveillance.
This article provides a good summary of just how CISA could be used for domestic surveillance, and how the information collected could be used by the government for purposes beyond cyber-security.
It seems the Republican leadership (which includes Sen. John Thune) hasn’t had much luck with their strategy of limiting debate on surveillance bills by pushing them through just before a recess. There was enough opposition to CISA prior to the Senate’s August recess, that they were forced to postpone a vote until September. Since then, I’ve come across a few interesting stories about how CISA may actually make cyber-security worse.
This article on an DOJ IG report, speculates that companies may be hesitant to share any information with the government because of concerns about how the personal information of customers might be used. CISA, after all, allows the information shared with the government to be used for purposes other than cyber-security.
Soon, the Senate will vote on a cyber-security bill called CISA. It’s a red herring. Senator Wyden of the Intelligence Committee called it a “surveillance bill by another name”. CISA proponents, including Senators Thune and Rounds, wrongly claim that CISA will protect computer networks through increased information sharing between companies and the government. But CISA wouldn’t have stopped any of the recent computer network breaches such as those at Sony or Target.
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