Cybersecurity Act v Safe Harbor II

On 18 December 2015 President Obama signed into law the Cybersecurity Act. In essence, this law is about the sharing of information between private organisations and government agencies to prevent cyber attacks.

President Obama has said that there was “only one way to defend America from these cyber threats, and that is through government and industry working together, sharing appropriate information as true partners.”

However others, including Apple, Dropbox, Yelp, Reddit, Twitter, Wikimedia, Google, Facebook and Yahoo have all expressed concerns that this amounts to the legitimization of state surveillance and an erosion of privacy rights,

One of the Senators who opposed the Cybersecurity Act said that the tech companies’ opposition showed that there were problems with the bill: “Sharing information about cybersecurity threats is a worthy goal. […] Yet if you share more information without strong privacy protections, millions of Americans will say, ‘That is not a cybersecurity bill. It is a surveillance bill.’“

It will be interesting to see what, if any, impact the coming into force the Cybersecurity Act will have on the negotiations between the US and the EU and a replacement for Safe Harbor-which was ruled by the European Court of Justice to be invalid because of how the U.S. government collected people’s data.

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