Dana Liebelson reports:
This summer, when Edward Snowden dropped his bombshell about PRISM, the NSA’s vast Internet spying program, the House had recently passed a bill called the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA). Widely criticized by privacy advocates, CISPA aimed to beef up US cybersecurity by giving tech companies the legal freedom to share even more cyber information with the US government—including the content of Americans’ emails, with personal information intact. CISPA supporters, among them big US companies such as Verizon and Comcast, spent 140 times more money on lobbying for the bill than its opponents, according to the Sunlight Foundation. But after Snowden’s leaks, public panic over how and why the government uses personal information effectively killed the bill. Now that the dust has settled a bit, NSA director Keith Alexander is publicly asking for the legislation to be re-introduced, and two senators confirmed that they are drafting a new Senate version.
“I am working with Senator Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) on bipartisan legislation to facilitate the sharing of cyber related information among companies and with the government and to provide protection from liability,” Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) told Mother Jones in a statement.
Read more on Mother Jones.
Haven’t the big tech companies and providers taken enough of a reputation hit already with the Snowden leaks? Do they really want to come out and support more data sharing without user consent or knowledge?
That a bill could be a Good Thing for cybersecurity has never been disputed by the privacy security. The problems were the lack of meaningful restrictions on use of personally identifiable information. Until we see the language of what Senator Feinstein is proposing, we simply won’t know whether the same privacy concerns will continue or if our concerns will be appropriately addressed. Given that it’s Feinstein who’s the sponsor, however, I am not optimistic.