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Blog April 22, 2013

What the Government is Doing with Cyber Security

With the ever-growing use of cloud computing and “big data” we wanted to provide an update on the recent security regulation being passed on Capitol Hill.

What is CISPA?

The House of Representatives passed their second attempt at the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) on Thursday by a vote of 288-127. CISPA is an amendment to the National Security Act of 1947 which seeks to strengthen the act by adding provisions focused on cybercrime.   The first attempt was rejected by the Senate on the grounds that it did not do enough to protect privacy.

CISPA requires the Director of National Intelligence to establish procedures to allow the intelligence community to share and encourage further sharing of cyber threat knowledge with private-sector entities.  This amendment will allow companies and service providers to participate in the information sharing of cyber threats, attacks, and any related data.  The Director of National Intelligence will be allowed to share data with corporate entities as well as allowing the private sector to voluntarily share cyber intelligence data with the government.

The challenge with the bill is that owners of the data are unable to provide input to what is shared and what is not.   The language used in the bill is far too loose and makes piracy, such as downloading the latest episode of Big Bang Theory, a threat to national security.

Response

TechNet, a lobbying trade association representing Google, Yahoo, and other tech companies, has come out in support of the controversial Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) while Advisors to President Obama have warned that they will recommend a veto when it reaches the White House.

At this time Connectria is not taking an official position on this bill, the amendment clearly tries to do the right thing by improving America’s ability to respond to Cyber Threats.  However, this bill still needs some work to protect civil liberties and data ownership.   We are monitoring the activities very closely as this bill now goes to the Senate.  We encourage you to do the same.

What other bills are we tracking closely right now?  The Marketplace Fairness Act of 2013, which will require online retailers to charge sales tax at the time of the transaction regardless of location.  We’ll cover that one in another article given the number of state and local governments already passing laws in this area.

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