CISA Rears Its Ugly Head Once Again: Privacy Loses as U.S. Technology Companies Try to Quietly Jump on the CISA Bandwagon

September 28, 2015 at 11:33 am 1 comment

By Terence Craig

stop cisaWell, unfortunately today’s news validates the last sentence in my previous post regarding Congress and the current administration blindly following the NSA’s lead. CISA has been passed out of the House and with White House support, there is a real chance this badly conceived bill could become law. The disturbing fact is that this is largely due to support from almost every major U.S. technology company.  Why would they support a piece of legislation so odious that even the DHS is against it? Surprisingly, the DHS calls the bill fundamentally flawed, deriding:

“…the bill’s failure to mandate a privacy scrub of personal data, explaining that DHS will be forced to ‘contribute to the compromise of personally identifiable information by spreading it further.’ Companies and the government should be securing our personal information, not sharing it unnecessarily.”  

CISA basically removes all individual privacy protections in the presence of a vaguely defined “cyberthreat” and allows unfettered data sharing between corporations and the U.S. government as well as unfettered sharing between corporations. CISA has not been voted on yet by the Senate but a decision is expected in the fall. In the meantime, it’s time for all of us, once again, to enter the privacy fray and let these companies know that:

“… by supporting CISA, you are selling out your customers’ privacy to a power-obsessed government. And what are they giving you in return? Immunity from privacy laws will be nothing compared to the damage done to your businesses when consumers leave you.”

Short term, if CISA should pass, it’s  a win for U.S. tech firms. Since it is a regulation and not a technology, it shouldn’t impact their overseas business and gives them immunity from lawsuits—no matter how unprofessionally they protect our data.

But the long term view may not be so rosy—particularly if their customers decide to look elsewhere for tools and applications. I believe we are about to see a bunch of startups in the EU feeling emboldened to take entrenched U.S. Internet firms on. Which in the end will be good for all consumers.

Entry filed under: Privacy and Big Data. Tags: , , .

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