Cybersecurity hits the limelight (again)

By Kristine Gloria

(Full disclosure: PolitiHacks is on paid contract for work unrelated to CISPA from one of the members of the coalition opposing CISPA)

Monday marks the beginning of a week of action spearheaded by a coalition of individuals and internet advocacy organizations, including PolitiHacks, to continue the fight against the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA – H.R. 624).

Objectionable provisions of CISPA include (but are not limited to) legal immunity to communities who share user private information with the government and the authorization to disclose users’ data directly to military agencies, like the National Security Agency, without public accountability. For early stage startups, the current version of CISPA places us in an uncomfortable position, risking unintended data disclosure due to the government’s request to increase the baseline data collection while potentially upsetting users due to being unable to trust privacy agreements.

This time around, notably missing from the “strong supporters list” includes companies, like Facebook and Microsoft, whose 2012 support for CISPA has been replaced by hopes for revisions that achieve a more balanced approach to cybersecurity while preserving individual privacy rights. That’s major progress for users.

The coalition cautions against CISPA’s vague language and urges the U.S. government to revisit alternative provisions that protect a free and open Internet. Expect to see an uptick of CISPA coverage this week as well as efforts to engage the entire tech community.

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