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[ISN] Groups Warn Of Privacy Concerns In Cybersecurity Bills


By Josh Smith
National Journal
February 9, 2012

Some efforts to share more information about cyberthreats could open a Pandoraâs Box of privacy and civil rights concerns, civil liberties advocates said on Thursday.

As Congress looks to pass wide-ranging cybersecurity legislation this year, several bills included proposals for increasing the flow of information between government agencies and private companies.

If not implemented carefully, such measures could undermine privacy and other limits on government intrusion, the Center for Democracy and Technologyâs Gregory Nojeim said at a Capitol Hill briefing for staffers.

Two issues are of particular concern, he said. The amount and type of information that is collected or shared needs to be narrowly limited; and the use of that information needs to be used only for cybersecurity efforts, not other, unrelated crimes. Nojeim praised a bill approved by a House Homeland Security subcommittee on Feb. 1 that creates a quasi-governmental organization to oversee information sharing and defines what information can be shared.

âThere is widespread agreement that ISPs (internet service providers) and other operators of computer networks need clearer legal authority in order to be able to share with each other â and with the government -- signatures and other information about suspected attacks on their networks,â Nojeim wrote in a summary of the legislation. âHowever, since we are talking about privately owned and operated networks that carry personal communications, any sharing of information must be carefully controlled.â


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