Congress Wants To Push Dangerous Cybersecurity Bill After The Election, Says US Economy Depends On It

from the bad-ideas dept

Reports are coming out that Congress is looking to push forward with bad cybersecurity legislation after the election, but before the new Congress takes over in January. We've discussed the bill in question, CISA, before. The main idea behind it is to immunize companies from liability if they share certain information with the government. Supporters of the bill note that the information sharing is entirely voluntary, but by taking away the liability it also makes it a lot more likely that companies will choose to give information to the government, and it's not yet clear why the government really needs that information. But the FUD levels are high, with Senator Saxby Chambliss actually suggesting the entire economy is at stake here:
"If we wait another year, we are really risking the economy of the United States."
Oh, come on. People have been saying this for years -- along with the whole "cyber pearl harbor" claims -- but have failed to present any explanation or details of how (1) there's a real risk to the economy or (2) how current laws block necessary solutions. On top of that, no one seems willing to explain how further information sharing will actually help stop online attacks. Remember, this is the same federal government that didn't even notice that the White House's own network had been breached until some other country told us about it. And yet, we now believe that if only US companies were feeding more information to the NSA that they'd magically be able to stop attacks (and save the economy?). That seems unlikely.

It also sounds like there may be some sort of potential trade-off, in which Congress will try to lump this bill with the USA Freedom Act, as the White House is said to be focused on surveillance reform over the cybersecurity bill. But, the reality is that the two are in many ways attached. And there are increasing worries that the final result on the USA Freedom Act will, in some ways, actually (yet again) enhance the NSA, rather than hold it back. Combine that with a cybersecurity bill that will give the NSA even more ways to get our data, and the end result could be the surveillance state increasing, rather than shrinking, with no actual benefit to the American public. There would be fewer privacy protections and just some arm waving about saving the US economy.
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Filed Under: cisa, cispa, cybersecurity, economy, fud, nsa, saxby chambliss, sharing, surveillance, usa freedom act

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  1. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 3 Nov 2014 @ 11:51am

    Given the virtual media blackout on this story last week I think it is worth quoting from again:
    When a nation’s leaders condone and even order torture, that nation has lost its way. One need only look to the regimes where torture became a systematic practice – from Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany to the French in Algeria, South Vietnam, the Khmer Rouge and others – to see the ultimate fate of a regime so divorced from their own humanity.

    The practices of torture, rendition and imprisonment without due process by the United States have even greater ramifications. The United States, born of the concept of the inherent equality of all before the law, has been since its inception a hallmark that would be emulated by countries and entire regions of the world. For more than two centuries, it has been the enlightened ideals of America’s founders that changed civilization on Earth for the better, and made the US a giant among nations.

    The conduct of the United States in the treatment of prisoners through two World Wars, upholding the tenets of the Geneva Convention while its own soldiers suffered greatly from violations at the hands of its enemies, again set a standard of treatment of prisoners that was emulated by other countries and regions.

    These are the Americans we know. And believing that most Americans still share these ideals, these are the Americans we speak to.

    In recent decades, by accepting the flagrant use of torture and other violations of international law in the name of combating terrorism, American leaders have eroded the very freedoms and rights that generations of their young gave their lives to defend. They have again set an example that will be followed by others; only now, it is one that will be used to justify the use of torture by regimes around the world, including against American soldiers in foreign lands. In losing their way, they have made us all vulnerable.

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