The Senate Fights over Whether it Can Take Away Your Online Privacy


privacy

 

If you haven’t been keeping up on all the politics of the cybersecurity bill fight over the past few weeks, a new bill was recently introduced that at least had some improvements concerning privacy (though it still had lots of problems). Yesterday, the Senate basically made it clear that they’re done with debating the issue, and will bring the new bill to a vote next week. But now the real fight begins: the fight over the amendments on the bill. A whole bunch of amendments have already been proposed, with a second batch expected to be filed on Monday.

Senator McCain is leading the charge with a whole slew of amendments which are designed to delete basically every last bit of privacy protection that is in the bill. Among many, many other things, McCain’s amendments would take away the limitation that any information sharing not go directly to the NSA. As we’ve noted in the past, a lot of this is a turf battle over whether NSA or Homeland Security gets control of the info, and McCain has been “Team NSA’s” biggest cheerleader all along. Furthermore, he wants to remove the limitation that the information can only be used for cybersecurity reasons, making the use of the information much, much broader. There are also all sorts of efforts to take away government liability if information is abused. Basically, everything that’s useful or good in protecting privacy? McCain and a few other Senators seem to want to take that away.

On the flip side, there are a few good amendments to increase privacy. Senators Al Franken and Rand Paul are pushing an amendment to strengthen the privacy protections. Senator Wyden is pushing an amendment that basically includes his GPS Act, which basically says law enforcement can’t track GPS data without a warrant.

Either way, it is going to be quite a big fight in the Senate, and the “marginally better” Cybersecurity Act may quickly turn into something horribly destructive to your online privacy. If you care about your privacy, now (and all next week) would be a good time to call your Senator and tell them that any attempt to weaken privacy protections is unacceptable, and that they should get behind the proposals to strengthen privacy protections.

 

http://channelnomics.com/2012/07/30/cybersecurity-act-set-senate-vote/

http://thehill.com/blogs/hillicon-valley/technology/240875-senator-wants-to-require-warrant-for-gps-tracking-in-cybersecurity-bill

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20120727/10461519857/next-week-senate-fights-over-whether-it-can-take-away-your-online-privacy.shtml

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