Apple, Dropbox, Google and Facebook oppose CISA cybersecurity bill

21 Oct 2015

The US Capitol Building in Washington

Tech giants Apple, Dropbox, Twitter, Google, Wikimedia Foundation and Facebook have all opposed a controversial cybersecurity bill known as the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA), which they say will give the US government sweeping new powers to spy on Americans.

The US Senate is due to vote on CISA this week, which purports to protect Americans from hackers and aims to use the companies to gather data.

According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), the bill will grant companies more power to obtain threat information and allow them to disclose that data to the government without a warrant.

‘The trust of our customers means everything to us and we don’t believe security should come at the expense of their privacy’

This includes sending data to the National Security Agency.

“It also gives companies broad immunity to spy on — and potentially even launch counter measures against — innocent users,” the EFF said.

It is clear that the companies themselves from Apple to Reddit and Twitter don’t want this responsibility.

“We don’t support the current CISA proposal,” Apple said in a statement.

“The trust of our customers means everything to us and we don’t believe security should come at the expense of their privacy.”

Tech industry rejects ‘Big Brother USA’ bill

While supporting the need to protect Americans from hackers, just like Apple, the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA) said that CISA in its current form unfairly impacts on users’ privacy.

It called for other options to be explored for protecting users without harming their privacy.

“CISA’s prescribed mechanism for sharing of cyber-threat information does not sufficiently protect users’ privacy or appropriately limit the permissible uses of information shared with the government,” CCIA said.

“In addition, the bill authorises entities to employ network defence measures that might cause collateral harm to the systems of innocent third parties.

“It is important to note that while appropriately constructed cybersecurity information-sharing legislation can provide a more efficient regime for the voluntary sharing of appropriately limited information between the private sector and government, it is not the only means through which information sharing can occur.”

Main image image via Shutterstock

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years