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October 28, 2015

CISA cybersecurity bill passes US Senate

News: What could voluntary snooping mean for privacy?

By James Nunns

The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) has been passed by the US Senate by a vote of 74 to 21.

Under the bill, companies would be encouraged to share security information with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).

It has been argued that this will give the government invasive spying powers, but has been welcomed by the Telecommunications Industry Association, which said: "We applaud the Senate for moving this important bill and urge Congressional leaders to act quickly to send this bill to the President’s desk."

Once a final version of the bill is drawn up, it will be up to President Obama to sign or veto.

The argument against the bill is that it opens up the door for increased levels of surveillance, with the risk of more powers being granted to the government in the future.

Currently information sharing is voluntary rather than mandatory.

French Caldwell, chief evangelist, Metric Stream, said: "Is this type of surveillance absolutely necessary? The answer may vary industry to industry. The sharing of information is voluntary. Businesses are not required to do so, but there are clear benefits to doing so."

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Those that do share will have access to the pooled cyberthreat intelligence of the system maintained by DHS, in addition to access to classified and unclassified threat analysis from the federal government.

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