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Monday, July 14, 2014

Contentious cybersecurity bill advances

In an attempt to address growing cybersecurity issues, the Cyber Information Sharing Act has been passed to the next stage, but not without its critics.

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By now, few people are unaware of the growing cybersecurity threats that have the potential to damage organizations and inflict victims with identity fraud issues. Every day, additional reports emerge of data breaches, hacking incidents, and other forms of cybercrime. International syndicates of cyberattackers orchestrate increasingly sophisticated campaigns, sometimes at the behest of governments.

So, what's to be done? The United States government has given due attention to the issue, but one of the latest proposals remains a controversial approach. According to Forbes Magazine, a cybersecurity bill known as the Cyber Information Sharing Act has progressed to the next level in the legislative process, but critics have strong concerns about its implications and details.

CISA 
On July 8, the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence approved CISA by a 12-3 vote, enabling it to advance one stage closer to floor debate, the source reported. The intention of the legislation is to help the government and companies work together to stop cybercriminals from achieving their aims.

By encouraging these entities to share information with each other about potential threats, the proponents of the initiative hope to create a united front against cyberattacks. Businesses would be protected against lawsuits if they reveal data about threats voluntarily, Forbes explained.

The main critics of the bill include civil liberties advocates, the source added. Their concerns center on the possibility that the government might misuse opportunities to gather American's sensitive data. 

"We are concerned that the bill the U.S. Senate Select Committee on Intelligence reported today lacks adequate protections for the privacy rights of law-abiding Americans, and that it will not materially improve cybersecurity," noted Senators Ron? Wyden (D-Or.) and Mark Udall (D-Co.), who voted against the bill. 

A growing problem 
Clearly, the cybercrime threat must be addressed on multiple fronts. Whether or not the legislation passes, organizations and individuals must recognize the increasingly concerning problem presented by cyberattacks.

"Every week, we hear about the theft of personal information from retailers and trade secrets from innovative businesses, as well as ongoing efforts by foreign nations to hack government networks," Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein said in a statement, according to Forbes.

The urgency of protecting against cybercrime can't be understated. According to Capital Public Radio, a recent study by the National Consumers League revealed that around 33 percent of data breaches in 2013 resulted in identity fraud. This represents an increase from around 11 percent in 2009. Thus, the consequences of cybercriminal activity may be reaching a point of greater severity than ever before.