NY Times Takes On Shortcomings of Cybersecurity Bills

With increasingly frequent incidents involving hacks against national and multi-national companies, both existing and proposed legislation around cybersecurity has become a hot topic for lawmakers in Congress. However, these bills are raising questions regarding the balance between the need to protect these companies and those of individual rights to privacy.

The New York Times Editorial Board tackled this issue in a recent op/ed piece:

Legislators say their hope is to persuade companies and government agencies to exchange detailed information about how hackers are trying to steal secrets from their computer servers. This, they argue, could help businesses secure their systems while helping government identify the attackers. Under all three bills, in exchange for sharing information voluntarily, companies would receive immunity from lawsuits. The bills would also authorize businesses to take defensive steps to protect themselves from hackers.

But many public interest groups like the American Civil Liberties Union and the Center for Democracy and Technology are concerned that these bills could become a way for government agencies to increase surveillance on individuals. The bills would allow businesses to share data that include some personal information about customers, employees and Internet users. They would also allow government agencies like the National Security Agency and the Federal Bureau of Investigation to use that information in investigations that are not related to cybersecurity without having to obtain a search warrant as they are normally required to do.

The article also discusses the concerns that granting immunity from lawsuits could reduce the incentive of companies to develop protections for their own systems. While legislation was proposed in 2012 to address this potential shortcoming, by linking immunity to the implementation of new security standards, these laws have yet to be adopted.

For now, and as high profile events continue to occur, cybersecurity will remain a common topic of discussion and legislation in the capital.


To read the original article, visit: http://www.nytimes.com/2015/05/14/opinion/shortcomings-of-cybersecurity-bills.html?_r=0