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.