Internet Company Continue to Oppose Cybersecurity BillAdded: Friday, October 16th, 2015
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The largest tech giants, including T-Mobile, Google, eBay, RedHat, Yahoo and Facebook have once again expressed their concern about a controversial cybersecurity bill, claiming that it fails to protect users’ privacy.
The Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA), representing a number of major tech firms, published an open letter criticizing the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, also known as CISA. The latter would allow companies to share users’ personal details with the American government in exchange for immunity from regulators and the Freedom of Information Act. The bill is to pass through Senate later in October.
The tech firms point out that the mechanism for sharing of cyber threat information as described in the bill fails to sufficiently protect users’ privacy or limit the permissible uses of data shared with the authorities. Another cause for concern is that CISA authorizes entities to employ network defense measures that might cause collateral harm to innocent 3rd parties.
The legislation was initially meant to allow tech firms to share “anonymized” user data with the Department of Homeland Security, but the latter has itself come out against the bill, because in this case it would be compelled to share the data on to other entities. The cybersecurity bill has raised concerns about surveillance among many industry experts that simply gathering multiple corporate information sets in one place could be exploited to create profiles with personally identifying information.
The mater is that elaborate user data is organized – mostly by advertisers – in such a way that users are split up into several categories. For example, you may end up in a group scheduled to show adverts for cat lovers, a group likely to change shampoo brands, and a group of Toyota owners. At the same time, the companies are trying to make sure they don’t accidentally create individual digital dossiers. The problem is that with such legislation in place, one bad actor can reverse the process and gain unprecedented access to personal details.
On the other hand, some companies that would be eligible to participate decided to support the bill – for example, Experian, the data broker that was recently hacked and lost 15m sets of T-Mobile customer data, claimed that it supported legislation that would facilitate greater sharing of cyber threat information.
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