On Wednesday, the United States Senate will vote on CISA, where it is expected to be approved. However, there will be some major consequences from this new cyber security law.
For one, the United States government will lose power when it comes to cracking down on internet service providers who don’t take proper responsibility of the data of their customers.
Based on CISA, when a company voluntarily shares an indicator of cyber activity with the government, the government is not able to use that data to take regulatory action against the company. Therefore, companies who ignore vulnerabilities will be able to avoid lawsuits by just telling the government that vulnerabilities exist, while doing nothing to protect their customers. Basically, companies will be legally able to be negligent when it comes to protecting personal data.
Secondly, CISA will offer a method for working around the warrant requirement for the collection of content.
The law says that the government needs a warrant before it can conduct electronic surveillance for the purpose of domestic security. Congress eventually established the FISA court where the government can obtain such warrants so that they can legally spy on people.
However, with CISA, a new system will be established where Congress will allow corporations to share personal data with the government. Virtually all protections that were offered by the FISA court system will be eliminated. Some of these protections include a review by a judge, minimization procedures, identity protection and notices of provisions.
In essence, companies will be able to spy on their customers and share this data with the government, and the government will be able to experience the benefits of spying without having to do the dirty work.
Making matters worse is that since criminal defendants will not be informed that they are being observed, nobody will ever be able to receive proper standing, and the Supreme Court will never review the constitutionality of the situation. Basically, the government has found a method around the Fourth Amendment by getting companies to spy in their place.
Meanwhile, claims that CISA will prevent cyber attacks from occurring while also limiting the damage from attacks that do take place are overstated. The senate is giving up a large amount of protections for United States citizens in exchange for very little in return.
The American government wanted a way to legally spy on its people, and if CISA passes like most people are expecting, they might have found just that.