If you have been following the news, you may have heard of the most recent attempt to strip citizens’ cyber privacy. Whether you are in the US or outside the US, CISA has made international news. CISA stands for the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act. In a new open letter dated October 15th, major companies in the tech industry have finally warned against this act, and stated the loss of citizens’ privacy rights was eminent and would become collateral damage.
Previously, legislators offered another open letter, signed by some big players in the tech industry, as evidence that some companies supported the newest wave of user surveillance. When this earlier letter was released, there was a massive backlash. Several privacy groups like the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Fight for the Future, and others took these large companies to task, some of groups suggesting that citizens boycott those companies.
At that point, we saw a few things happen. Shortly after the first letter made headlines, we began to see a “clarification” of statements. Companies that agreed in the earlier letter started saying that they felt something needed to be done, but did not necessarily feel that CISA was the answer. To us, it sounds like some of the companies listed like Apple, Symantec, Microsoft, IBM, Autodesk, Oracle, Adobe, Salesforce, and Seimens were not expecting the firestorm that happened.
There may be an alternate reason for this clarification as well. It could be that congress has it wrong, and that some of these politicians spun the scenario of the open letter, for the sake of getting this new bill passed. Politicians around the world have long been known to take things out of context and use it for their own reasons. It could also be a combination of both.
No matter why the reversal happened, the important thing is that it did. We now see the sort of industry support that helped defeat previous well intentioned, but horribly wrong bills like SOPA and PIPA. Sometime in the future, it would be nice to see a solution to the issue that these bills were trying to solve. However, if a solution can not be found without stripping away more of our freedoms, we would rather not have a solution at all. We would rather deal with the problems then face the dystopian monitoring system that is already in place for some countries. With seeing these bills, it is hard not to draw parallels to George Orwell’s classic book, 1984. Sadly, some countries are worse than he imagined now.