Tech giants team up against new cyber-security law

A public protest has been issued against a controversial US cyber-security bill by some of the world's tech giants.

A public protest has been issued against a controversial US cyber-security bill by some of the world's tech giants. Google, Facebook, Amazon and other major tech firms have teamed up against the Cyber-security Information Sharing Act (CISA) that is due to be laid out for consideration by the US Senate in the coming weeks. The CISA aims to share threat intelligence between private companies and the government.

In an open letter published on Thursday, the Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA), representing Google, Facebook, Amazon, and several other major tech giants, said it approved of the legislation - goal to aid in the fight against crime and terrorism - but does not support its current form. The CCIA says it hope the end result will be based more so around a voluntary structure backed by a strong level of privacy protection.

The current bill has gained support from both main US political parties, the  Democrats and Republicans. Democrat Ron Wyden of Oregon said, “These companies understand it is untenable and bad for business to enact flawed ‘cyber-security' policies that infringe on users' privacy while doing little to prevent sophisticated hacks. By coming out against this bill, CCIA's members, including Google, Yahoo, and Facebook, have made the clear statement that they have their user's backs.”

Republican Rand Paul feels the CISA would crush Fourth Amendment privacy protections, mislead the Freedom on Information Act and give government agencies the ability to access citizen's private information without a warrant, all without improving the government's capability to prevent cyber-attacks.

The Department of Homeland Security deputy secretary, Alejandro Mayorkas, said the Act “raises privacy and civil liberties concerns”, and legal immunity granted to data-sharing companies could “sweep away important privacy protections.” On the opposing side, Senate Intelligence Committee chairman Richard Burr and vice chairman Dianne Feinstein emphasise that the sharing of information is completely voluntary, yet highly essential.