Even though we heard the term CISA in the past how many of us know the real meaning behind that acronym. It’s actually called Cyber Security Information Sharing act which was passed in the senate with an overwhelming majority proposes to share the information the private companies has in with the government agencies in return for a security management program which is proposed to reduce the number of hacking attacks that the private company succumbs to by sharing private information. This bill was fully endorsed and supported by the senate intelligence committee. And called Cyber Security Information Sharing act was mainly sponsored by senators Dianne Feinstein and Richard Burr. This bill is not something that came up within a day or two. This Cyber Security Information Sharing act has a history of its own. In 2012 a less refined predecessor of Cyber Security Information Sharing act called Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) was passed with a majority in the senate, but it had to be discontinued because President Barack Obama said he would veto it using the powers granted to him by the constitution. Therefore, it had to be withdrawn. The called Cyber Security Information Sharing act is a more refined state of CISPA bill. The Main difference lies in the fact that when CISPA was presented in 2012 many tech and Silicon Valley companies endorsed it, but President Barack Obama decided otherwise. This time around most of the top tech companies is speaking against this bill while the president has fully endorsed it. Such is the volatile nature of policy making. In addition to the monitoring and repulsion of cyber-attacks, the information gathered by Cyber Security Information Sharing act can be used to punish major offenses such as murder, death threat, any act of terrorism, economic harm, fraud, and espionage.
What are the Advantages Of called Cyber Security Information Sharing act?
Most private companies store a wealth of information about their clients. This can range from the clients personal bank account details to the food preference. And since this information is so valuable, hackers try to hack into the databases of these companies and get the data frequently. A very good example for this is the hacking of Sony recently. And these hacking attacks spread from one company to another much like a bacterial infection. The Main Objective Of called Cyber Security Information Sharing act is to stop this spread of the hacking by sharing all the private information on the organizations in exchange for the security management system provided by government agencies. As a plus point, this allows the government agencies to monitor any internal or external threat to the state and also to monitor criminal activities. So it obviously sounds like a good bargain. And this obviously explains the fact why the Chamber of commerce was promoting this whole idea and welcomed the passing of the bill. Almost every trade sector of the chamber of commerce welcomed the idea of this act except the tech sector. The major players in the tech sector such as Apple, twitter openly opposed this move while organizations such as Facebook chose to take a more silent stance. Although it passed with a majority in the Senate it was no cakewalk since rights groups and major tech companies were vocal against called Cyber Security Information Sharing act.
Why is that some people oppose Cyber Security Information sharing act?
The Logic behind the rights group and the tech sector opposition is mainly the violation of the privacy of the individual. According to the opponents of this bill, government agencies, such as FBI, CIA can get the information about people without their consent and the companies are given the immunity from being prosecuted in the courts against storing of personal data. The data which are to be collected from private companies are proposed to go through the Department of Homeland security to national intelligence agencies such as CIA in real time. And the intelligence agencies do not have a very good reputation when it comes to privacy matters of people. In addition to these the government agencies will store a vast amount of data which is gathered from many private companies. But it can’t be guaranteed that the government can protect the data from hackers. A good example is the hacking of personal management agency which leaked details of twenty million odd people. So the government agencies can, in fact, become a major attraction for hackers and can cause leakage of data in a scale much more than what has happened up to now.
Taking these facts into consideration senate has proposed around hundred amendments to the Cyber Security Information Sharing act. The Senate Intelligence committee has taken steps to accommodate most of these proposed amendments taking into consideration the serious nature of this bill. When compared to Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act of 2012 Cyber Security Information Sharing act takes into consideration the privacy of people and the proponents have argued that all the personal data will remain anonymous. Even though Cyber Security Information Sharing act was passed in the senate it can be vetoed from the white house. But that scenario seems highly unlikely considering the fact that Whitehouse itself endorsed this bill back in august this year.
It’s the sincere hope of opponents and proponents of Cyber Security Information Sharing act alike to have a better safer digital environment in the future. And the coming days will surely define a new milestone in cyber security in the USA. In history someday, it will get recorded as the day in which the citizens of United States Of America lost their much-treasured freedom which is the foundation of this country or as a day which ensured the safety of all its citizens from being duped and hacked by web crooks.