US cyber-laws harm privacy and security

The US Department of Homeland Security has come out against the proposed Cyber-security Information Sharing Act (CISA). Alejandro Mayorkas, the deputy secretary of the DHS, said that in a letter to Senator Al Franken that the Act was seriously flawed.

The CISA legislation would allow commercial companies to hand over private data about their customers to the government in exchange for warnings of online attacks and help diminishing cyber-assaults.

The data won't need to be anonymised, so companies would be offered close to total immunity from lawsuits from their users for handing it over. The information handed over can't be discovered using existing freedom of information laws.

The DHS is worried since they would no longer be responsible for handling and distributing this information. Instead, each federal agency would be contacted directly and given whatever it wanted.

“I think all Americans have a fundamental right to privacy – and it's especially important in light of advancing technologies that continually threaten to outpace our laws. If the Senate moves forward with this cyber-security information-sharing bill, we are at risk of sweeping away important privacy protections and civil liberties,” Franken said.

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