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The Senate Just Voted to Kill Your Privacy

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A cybersecurity bill, the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, passed the Senate 74-21yesterday.  What does this mean for your personal security?

Called CISA, the bill, should it become law, allows companies to share customer data labeled as a cyber threat with the federal government in real time.  The bill, however, does not clearly outline what constitutes a cyber threat.  Some who are concerned about the trampling of civil liberties believe that if your email account has been used to send spam, your information could be shared with the Department of Homeland Security, who could then pass it on to the National Security Agency.

There were amendments that could have been tacked onto the bill that would have included privacy protections for consumers, but they were voted down, leaving a version of CISA that has Apple, Google, civil liberty organizations and cybersecurity professionals crying foul.  Critics of CISA say that it is too vague, offers no protection for consumers and does little to actually protect against the things that led to recent headline-grabbing cyberattacks such as the OPM breach and the Ashley Madison hack.  Some have said it is more of a surveillance bill than a cybersecurity bill.

The House of Representatives has passed such legislation twice before and it's not likely to be vetoed by President Obama, so there is little to stop CISA from becoming law at this point.