Privacy-infringing Cyber-surveillance Bill Passes in Senate

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With today’s passage of the Cybersecurity and Information Sharing Act (CISA) (S.754), the privacy of Americans was greatly eroded, and the extent to which the bill would improve cybersecurity is unclear. The Center for Democracy & Technology (CDT) has long advocated against the cyber-surveillance bill and its provisions that mandate that any personal information shared under the cybersecurity umbrella the bill opens up is shared immediately with a raft of government agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the National Security Agency (NSA).

“Passage of CISA is a huge step backwards for privacy rights in the United States. Now, more personal information will be shared with the NSA and with law enforcement agencies, and that information will certainly be used for purposes other than enhancing cybersecurity,” said Greg Nojeim, CDT’s Senior Counsel and Director of the Freedom, Security and Technology Project.

“Numerous amendments that would have at least improved the privacy protections in the bill were voted down in the Senate today. The privacy protections are so weak that personal information that is not needed for cybersecurity will be shared anyway. The mandate to share within the government is so strong that any information a company volunteers to the Department of Homeland Security for cybersecurity reasons will immediately be shared with the NSA, thus discouraging the very information sharing the bill is supposed to promote,” Nojeim added.

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