As many leading technology companies voice their opposition to the Congressional bill known as the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA), Facebook has been outed as one of the primary supporters of it. The controversial bill would allow for direct sharing of private user data with the NSA and other governmental agencies, with no requirements for a warrant as long as requests are in the name of “cybersecurity.”
With the frequency of cyber attacks against both corporate and government servers in recent years, legislators might have expected little opposition to a bill about “information sharing.”
Memories of the far-reaching government surveillance powers granted by the USA PATRIOT Act that was passed in the emotional days following the 9/11 attacks may have informed some of the critical opinions on the CISA bill.
Major tech firms Apple, Google, Twitter and others have opposed the law, which would grant immunity from civil and criminal laws that could become exposed as a result of the information sharing provisions.
Facebook’s secret support for the bill was a result of sources contacted by the online group known as Fight for the Future (FFTF). Facebook has not taken a public stance on either side of the issue, but FFTF noted that chief lobbyist for Facebook, Myriah Jordan, previously served as general counsel for one of the bill’s former sponsors, Senator Richard Burr.
CISA supporters’ claim that it will enhance security by increasing information sharing between government agencies and private companies. These supporters are willfully oblivious to the fact that the government has so far failed to secure the information of its already existing agencies from cyber attack. The authorization to collect, store and transmit even more data will in all likelihood worsen the safety of citizens’ data, while at the same time violate privacy provisions of the U.S. Constitution.
The U.S. government was able to sidestep Constitutional protections after 9/11 by declaring a citizen a “terrorist.” If CISA passes, the government will be able sidestep the 4th Amendment right to privacy by obtaining user information from businesses that have gained said information due to their users’ waiving their privacy in end user license agreements.