Security, internet privacy and state intervention are all hot topics at the moment. The current proposals in the UK for GCHQ to be able to monitor web activity and electronic communications in the name of ‘national security’ have been met with fierce opposition from personal freedom and privacy advocates. Yet the man behind the latest US bill, CISPA, thinks that a happy medium is near to being reached.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers is the primary sponsor of the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA). He feels that by collaborating with the technology industry, privacy groups and big name companies in the online world, they can together come to an agreement on terms for a bill that protects the privacy interests of the individual, while protecting the security of the US as a whole.
“We’ve got a coalition of companies in the high-tech industry supporting the bill…because we’ve listened to people’s concerns and incorporated them. It’s truly a collaborative effort” he told Mashable.
The aim of CISPA is to encourage cyber threat communication between businesses and government. In the world we live in, attacks no longer have to be physical nor carried out by terrorists to cause widespread damage to a country. State-sponsored attacks that seek to obtain top-secret information from US firms in order to give foreign countries an unfair advantage in the global marketplace are among Rogers’ concerns.
By creating an environment where companies can create a pool of knowledge pertaining to cyber attacks that they have previously fallen victim to, CISPA hopes to provide a means for others to prepare for those sort of eventualities.
Big names such as Facebook and Microsoft have publicly announced their support of CISPA, along with almost 30 other organisations, while Engine Advocacy, an organisation dedicated to bridging the gap between Silicon Valley and Washington, D.C, have withdrawn their opposition to the bill.
However, not everyone is behind this proposed legislation. The Electronic Front Foundation (EFF) and Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT) are seeking to inform the public about what they see are the dangers of CISPA, while others believe the vagueness of the bill will allow the government to snoop on internet users’ emails, texts and social media interactions.
It’s a very interesting topic, with strong arguments and heated debate emanating from both sides of the table. What are your views on this? Do you think that in the time of a crisis it is acceptable for the government to pop the hood and see what’s going on, or is it never justifiable for the state to monitor private communications?