CISPA’s successor and why you should be worried about it

Heather Parry

By Heather Parry

29 March 2015

As you might have seen in last week’s This Week in Privacy newsletter, there’s a whole new CISPA making its way – terrifyingly quickly – through the US senate.

The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act is the heir to the now-dead CISPA, and is arguably more worrying that its predecessor was. Not only would the bill expand the powers of the NSA, but it would allow the government and private companies to pass information – your information – back and forth freely.

The bill states only that this free transfer could occur in the event of a “cyber threat”, but leaves the definition of such a threat incredibly vague. A new addition to the bill claimed that a cybersecurity threat constituted anything that could cause “serious economic harm”, though this was not limited only to harm achieved through hacking.

Policy experts claim that this vagueness could be very easily exploited, leading to private information about citizens to be thrown back and forth like a particularly valuable football.

Information passed to the government from third parties would be shared with the NSA, and then potentially with local and state police. More worryingly, the bill also offers “liability protection” to companies, meaning that if they fail to anonymize data or give personal information to the government, they cannot be held accountable – which is, of course, very convenient for both parties but not very good for you.

What’s most scary, however, is the speed at which CISA is moving. While similar legislation is expected to appear in the House of Representatives next week, CISA could be voted on within a month – not giving it time to gain the media coverage that CIPSA enjoyed.

So what can you do about it?

You can share this article and others like it. People can’t fight against something if they don’t know it exists. You can also visit www.cispaisback.org and either phone your Congressperson or sign the petition to stop this invasive bill.

In the mean time, keep your personal information safe with SurfEasy VPN by registering here. Remember; no one will keep your information safe if you don’t.

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