The Internet Surveillance Act no one is talking about

by Vins
Published: Last Updated on

The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) was approved on October 27, 2015, as a provision of an Omnibus bill that largely deals with federal spending. CISA opens up the ability for Internet surveillance by the Internet providers. The purpose is to “improve cybersecurity in the United States through enhanced sharing of information about cybersecurity threats, and for other purposes” (S. 754) With CISA, it now allows network providers to monitor users browsing, without their consent, as long as its for “Cyber Security Purposes.” They then can send the information gathered to federal agencies to investigate the threat.

The issue here is privacy of individuals. Network providers can monitor and watch people for “Cyber Security Purposes”, without their consent. The way the bill is written now, it has very broad monitoring powers, with vague policies about what is considered a threat. Trying to decipher the language of the bill, and figuring out what could be considered fair monitoring is difficult and can be taken advantage of by network providers and government officials.

This story was censored because it failed to reach any major news sources in an alarming way. CISA was lumped into an Omnibus bill filled with federal spending bills that needed to be passed, and it was done quietly. There was no news about CISA possibly getting approved, and how it was snuck into congress. I could only find a couple of articles by the Washington Post and CNN, about how after the bill was already passed, it was controversial. In the articles there seemed to be no imminent concern over the power of CISA. Wired has written many articles about CISA and the problems with it, but they have a limited audience.

Sources:

Greenberg, Andy. “Congress Slips CISA Into a Budget Bill That’s Sure to Pass.” Wired.com. December 16, 2015. Accessed March 29, 2016. http://www.wired.com/2015/12/congress-slips-cisa-into-omnibus-bill-thats-sure-to-pass/.

Student Researcher: Victoria Bespalov (University of Vermont)

Faculty Evaluator: Rob Williams (University of Vermont)