The Internet Society Expresses Concern About Cybersecurity Legislation Currently Under Consideration in the USA
After plans in the USA for the legislative projects of a Stop Online Piracy Act – SOPA and a Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement – ACTA – had been given up in view of widespread – also international – criticism, a Cyber_Intelligence_Sharing_and_Protection_Act – CISPA – is now under consideration, introduced in the US House of Representatives as by Mike Rogers (Republican) on 30 November 2011. It is reported that President Obama has stated that the bill lacks confidentiality and civil liberties’ safeguards, and he may veto it.
The – international – Internet Society took up these plans. We had reported about ISOC’s earlier responses issued here (19.1.2012) with the words of Leslie Daigle, chief internet technology officer of the Internet Society:
Beyond SOPA: Why ‘Easy’ Solutions Don’t Stop Net Crime
CISPA has received positive comments and support from certain industries, such as Microsoft, Facebook, and the Chamber of Commerce of the USA, that see it as an effective handle against cyber threats. But CISPA has also been criticized by advocates of internet privacy and civil liberties, such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation – EFF, and the American Civil Liberties Union. They argue that CISPA is not clear about the limits and legal regulations how and when the government may supervise private individual’s internet use. Such powers could be used to monitor the general public rather than to focus on criminal acts.
And there is now a new Statement about CISPA, issued by ISOC on 7.5.2012, reprinted down here.
It is taken up because obviously whatever happens in the USA in Internet affairs, in most cases has also an impact on the rest of the communicating world, either directly by way of exercising some influence on the flow of information, or indirectly by being taken as an example for legislative action in other countries.
It is interesting that the Microsoft company has changed its position: Originally (30.11.2011) they supported CISPA: “This bill is an important first step towards addressing significant problems in cyber security.”
More recently, Microsoft’s position has changed, they want to: ”ensure the final legislation helps to tackle the real threat of cybercrime while protecting consumer privacy.”
Therefore, the expression of concern by the international Internet Society is also of concern for its Chapters. The following is the text of the original statement:
The Internet Society (ISOC) is concerned about cybersecurity legislation currently under consideration in the United States. The proposed Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) was passed last week by the House of Representatives and cybersecurity legislation may go to the Senate floor this month. CISPA aims to provide more effective channels of communication across different federal agencies and private entities in relation to online threats.
While the Internet Society recognizes the need for national security, it is concerned about the potentially broad scope of CISPA and the consequent impact this legislation might have on users’ rights, especially in relation to online privacy. We are also concerned that the draft bill might bypass existing legal and private contractual obligations to protect Internet users’ privacy, and lacks judicial oversight. Furthermore, placing burdensome security roles on intermediaries may, as an unintended consequence, have a negative impact on innovation, service delivery, and, ultimately, future investment and economic growth.
Lastly, we are also concerned that the United States, given its leadership role in Internet technology, may give the wrong signal to other governments and invite them to adopt measures or pass legislation that could harm the open and free Internet.
The Internet Society expresses its hope that the U.S. Senate will address privacy considerations and protect citizens’ rights and civil liberties in any future cybersecurity legislation.