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Latest cyber security bill riddled with Net neutrality loopholes

Special to SEGAZINE

The latest cyber security information sharing bill being considered in the Senate strikes many as overly broad and in need of revision. In fact, say some it’s worded vaguely enough that it could be used by ISPs to sidestep Net neutrality provisions in the name of public safety.

The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) has already been roundly criticized for having troubling implications for privacy. Ostensibly devised to allow the private sector to share with the government information about cyber security threats, it’s been attacked for potentially allowing companies to share any personal information they please with the government under the guise of being a security issue. Worse, the few anonymization provisions present in the bill can be easily dodged.

The wording of the bill — like with so many of its predecessors that went down to defeat — is being  carefully scrutinized for possible side effects, including being used as a backdoor way for ISPs to undermine Net neutrality.  Motherboard argues that the “countermeasures” provision in the bill allows for a broad range of responses, and could be used by an ISP to take actions to protect itself from anything they choose to brand as a threat. For example, throttling Netflix could be classified as a countermeasure as long as a good excuse could be found. Previously, ISPs used things like jeopardized back-end peerage deals to justify throttling; the pervasiveness of security threats could make such actions all the easier.


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