Thoughts on s.754 – Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act

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  • This moves the responsibility from the private businesses to government, regarding cyber-security, and it makes private individuals’ information subject to exposure to government entities.
  • The main tenant of this bill is that it makes it easier for companies to share personal information with the government under the guise of keeping America safe from cyber attack.
  • This information can be used to prosecute cyber crimes. It can also be used to prosecute crimes involving physical attack.
  • One of the issues with this bill is the vague language that allows the companies to pass along any sort of data they find as a threat or “indicator.”
  • Basically, the American people are left without internet privacy.

I have a problem with this bill as a citizen and as a library professional. It takes any information you have online and makes it fodder for the government, should they wish to use it. I’m a big proponent of the public library being a safe place where people can search for what they want and feel safe, and if their digital lives aren’t safe there anymore, they won’t use it.

Data-sharing in a place that was considered open and free and global, it makes the internet feel Orwellian, smaller, and monitored. It influences what you look up, makes you wonder if someone could use the information to punish his or her enemies, a la Joseph McCarthy. It contributes to ignorance through fear, meaning it could prevent people who are curious about a subject from searching online, if they are afraid their search will be misinterpreted. The vague language makes it possible for a narrative to be built by a third party to fit their agenda and for people to be falsely interpreted.

In studying and advocating for gifted children, I deal with the curious. Gifted kids come in so many shapes and sizes, intellectually and emotionally, but one thing that is definite is their curious. They may want to learn everything or just learn everything about one subject, but intellectual curiosity is definitely a common trait of bright students. If a student does not feel his or her privacy will be honored, they may not seek out answers. It may dampen their questing nature and cause them to stifle their urge to learn more. The same goes for those interested in bibliotherapy. If a kid or teen decides to take a bibliotherapy course or join a group, if they do not feel their privacy will be respected, they won’t join. They will worry they will be branded mentally unstable by governmental forces, marked as someone who sought out mental help. There is already enough stigma that goes around with mental illness as it is, if they do not feel their information will be protected, they will not feel good about joining the group, nor about seeking help from any source.

I believe there needs to be rules in place to prevent cyber terrorism. But I feel like this overreach this bill has does more about collecting and sharing information of the layman than prevent possible hacking.

 

 

 

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