The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Monday said a controversial new surveillance bill could sweep away “important privacy protections”, a move that bodes ill for the measure’s return to the floor of the Senate this week.
The latest in a series of failed attempts to reform cybersecurity, the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (Cisa) grants broad latitude to tech companies, data brokers and anyone with a web-based data collection to mine user information and then share it with “appropriate Federal entities”, which themselves then have permission to share it throughout the government.
Minnesota senator Al Franken queried the DHS in July; deputy secretary of the department Alejandro Mayorkas responded today that some provisions of the bill “could sweep away important privacy protections” and that the proposed legislation “raises privacy and civil liberties concerns”.
Much of the attention on Cisa has been directed at companies such as Google, Facebook and Comcast, which have large hoards of internet user behavior. But arguably more important are data brokers. Among the groups lobbying for the passage of Cisa are Experian, which tracks consumer trends using information from loyalty cards and other sources and licenses the information to help target advertising; Oracle, whose Data Cloud product works similarly; and Hitrust, which aggregates healthcare information.
View full story