|July 18, 2014|
Previously published on July 11, 2014
On Tuesday, the Senate Intelligence Committee approved the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act by a vote of 12 to 3. The legislation would make it easier for businesses and the government to share information with each other about cyber-attacks. Despite the vote, the bill continues to face opposition from privacy groups, who warn that it could give the National Security Agency access to even more personal information of Americans.
The legislation includes provisions aimed at protecting privacy, such as requiring companies that share information first strip out personally identifiable data (such as names, addresses, and Social Security numbers) of known Americans.
But the privacy groups are still worried that the legislation could encourage a company such as Google to turn over vast batches of emails or other private data to the government. The information would go first to the Homeland Security Department, but could then be shared with the NSA or other intelligence agencies.
Democratic Sens. Ron Wyden and Mark Udall voted against the legislation, saying in a statement that it "lacks adequate protections for the privacy rights of law-abiding Americans, and that it will not materially improve cybersecurity."
The legislation is a counterpart to the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, which passed the House last year.
That legislation prompted a major backlash from Internet activists, who fear it would undermine Internet privacy. More than 100,000 people signed a White House petition opposing the bill, and "CISPA" became a dirty word on many blogs, discussion forums, and news sites.
The White House issued a veto threat on CISPA, saying it lacked adequate privacy safeguards.