Just one month after the Office of Personnel Management breach, the U.S. government sustained another cyberattack.
Last night Senators from both sides of the aisle voted overwhelmingly (74-21) in support of the long debated and delayed Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act – aka CISA . The measure will continue to circulate the hill for further discussion among legislators, but for now it appears that Congress has finally decided to weigh into the issues surrounding the security of our digital systems.
The measure was brought about in no small measure due to all the recent breaches of businesses and government agencies including big box businesses such as Target and Home Depot and the infamous breach of the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) where over 20 million records were stolen by hackers.
CISA was formulated In an effort to try and reign in the activities of hackers by allowing the open sharing of information between private organizations and the government. Until now businesses have been reluctant to share information on attacks or breaches for fear of lawsuits or government attention to their operations. CISA provides a level of immunity to organizations that share information and relieves them of some liability. The information that is shared with the government is then analyzed and shared with other organizations in an attempt to mitigate the danger of future attacks.
There has however been an ongoing opposition to the measure due to privacy concerns voiced by a multitude of tech organizations such as Amazon, Apple, and Facebook as well as civil liberty groups such as the ACLU. That opposition was recognized by legislators and during the debate period numerous amendments were added that sought to decrease the potential for government over reach into public privacy. Depending on who you listen to, the amendments are not strong enough to protect privacy, or, there are enough protections and we, the public, shouldn’t worry about the government having more power to spy on its citizens.
Something clearly needed to be done to assist in combating those with malicious intent, and while everyone may not agree with CISA as passed last night, it is at least a step in the right direction. As it is often said, it is better to do something, than nothing at all. Some action needed to happen and now it has. We can only hope that it is indeed the right direction we are stepping in.
Check out a video on the Aljezeera America page that discusses this issue!