Well, the House of Representatives has finally passed a cybersecurity bill, but it doesn't seem like anyone is happy with it. In my opinion, this is another Congressional effort to make an appearance like something is getting done, but that something might not be better than nothing.
The Cyber-Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) is actually a bi-partisan effort (how often can we say that about Congress?) that is supposed to make it easier for private industry, government and intelligence agencies to share information. In theory, it is a good idea.
Yet, the White House is threatening to veto the bill when it reaches the president's desk. Why? Privacy concerns. According to eWeek:
However, a host of other tech organizations-such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT)-as well as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) have come out against the measure, saying it would give government agencies too much access to the private information of Internet users, including email messages and other personal data.
The Senate also has its concerns, primarily that the House version of the bill just doesn't go far enough to protect areas like critical infrastructure. As the Los Angeles Times pointed out:
The leading Republicans and Democrats who have been working on a separate cyber-security bill in the Senate issued a statement criticizing the House bill because it doesn't propose standards for protecting crucial infrastructure, such as power grids and water systems. Those systems are vulnerable to cyber-attack, and there is nothing requiring their owners to shore up computer defenses.
The attitude from the House, however, is one that is sadly true - big, all-encompassing bills just aren't going to make it through Congress. Period.
As I said, I think this is just another effort by Congress to make it look like they are doing something on a topic that has been gaining steam among the general public. I, like the Senate, wish there would be more focus on the critical infrastructure and other areas where cybersecurity is an absolute need, not a luxury. But I also think that this is something. It is a step forward, and you can't make any progress without that first step. I think the concerns about privacy are either overblown or just for show because let's be honest: The government already has way too much access to our personal information and in the age of Internet, the definition of privacy has changed significantly.