Tags: Barack Obama | Emerging Threats | NSA/Surveillance | Barack Obama | cybersecurity | proposals | privacy

Privacy Groups: Obama Data-sharing Plan Risky Without NSA Reform

Image: Privacy Groups: Obama Data-sharing Plan Risky Without NSA Reform
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By    |   Wednesday, 14 Jan 2015 10:17 AM

President Barack Obama announced Tuesday that he would introduce legislation that would give legal protections to companies that share information with the government about hacking threats, but the plan is already being criticized by privacy activists concerned that it would increase the government's surveillance powers, according to the National Journal.

The plan would encourage companies to share information in exchange for liability protection, while at the same time exempting them from providing "unnecessary personal information."

Some privacy groups are insisting that no information-sharing bill should be on the table without substantial reform to the National Security Agency.

"The Sony hack demonstrates a failure of corporate digital security, and not a need for greater government information-sharing," said Amie Stepanovich, senior policy counsel with Access, a digital-freedom group, according to the Journal.

"The administration's attempt to use Sony to justify increased transfer of information to the government is difficult to understand, particularly in the absence of substantive NSA reform, a subject the administration has yet to comment on in the new year."

The proposal comes on the heels of other announcements recently by the administration relating to data security.

In a speech on Monday, the president warned about the dangers of identity theft; a preview to calls he will make in the State of the Union address for Congress to pass legislation called the Personal Data Notification Protection Act. The measure would require companies to inform customers within 30 days that their personal data had been breached.

Cybersecurity issues were examined in a round of hearings on Capitol Hill during the last Congress, following a number of high-profile breaches like those at Target, Home Depot, JP Morgan, and Neiman Marcus, but little was done, the Journal noted.

The issue appears to have risen on the political agenda of both parties following the Sony hack, and both parties have pledged to work on passing cybersecurity legislation.

Nevertheless, privacy advocates remain concerned about the implications of the president's proposal.

"Instead of proposing unnecessary computer security information sharing bills, we should tackle the low-hanging fruit," Mark Jaycox, a legislative analyst with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, told the Journal.

"This includes strengthening the current information sharing hubs and encouraging companies to use them immediately after discovering a threat."

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President Barack Obama announced Tuesday that he would introduce legislation that would give legal protections to companies that share information with the government about hacking threats, but the plan is being criticized by privacy activists.
Barack Obama, cybersecurity, proposals, privacy
372
2015-17-14
Wednesday, 14 Jan 2015 10:17 AM
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