The Senate has dismissed a last-ditch effort from privacy-minded senators to change a controversial cybersecurity bill that is quickly headed for a final vote.
The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) which would encourage businesses to share more data on hackers with the government is now expected to pass without any of the amendments desired by privacy advocates, despite a months-long campaign from a number of lawmakers.
Before the vote, Senate Minority Leader, Dick Durbin, told his colleagues the edits were needed to help strike the appropriate balance between ensuring security and protecting civil liberties.
Lawmakers and the White House argue that CISA is needed to help the country better defend itself against cyberattacks but the bill was criticised by the opposition as they believe that this will simply provide more information about Americans’ personal lives and data to the government. Some people already believe the American government knows too much about their lives, and this will only increase if they have to share more with them in order to become at less risk of cyber attacks. As a result of this, leading CISA critic Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) tried to win enough votes to get through several privacy-focused amendments from himself and four other senators. These amendments are said to “reduce the unnecessary sharing of Americans’ private and personal information.”
Lots of different people are suggesting amendments to help reduce cyber attacks, but also protect Americans' private information. Sen. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) offered an amendment that he said would "strike a balance, increasing privacy, but still providing that real-time information sharing,".
However, CISA has been heavily criticised. Whilst the bill seeks to share information about the nature of cyber threats and suggestions on how to defend networks, this information should not be made widely available to hackers and cyber criminals, who could use it for their own purposes. The rationale behind CISA is that, if the bill doesn’t protect peoples privacy, it will work less efficiently. If private information has to be shared, it is thought that businesses will not give information about possible cyber threats as they don’t want to readily make available their personal information.