Thursday, February 16, 2017

Cyber Protection Arrives!

Both now ex-Presindet Obama and Congress have gotten
serious about cyber attacks toward the conclusion of the
former's final term. The Senate passed Senate Bill 754
On October 27, 2015, after an earlier, similar bill passed
the House that April. The bill's official name is
The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015.
Your pleasantly dumbfounded Peasant confesses to only
just now learning of this important and very necessary
legislation and its becoming federal law!

S.754 requires that the Director of National Intelligence
and the Departments of Homeland Security, Defense,
and Justice develop procedures to share cybersecurity
threat information with private entities such as businesses,
non-federal governmental agencies, state, local, and tribal
governments, the public, and entities under threats.

This took so long in the making, because the Democrats
blocked a bipartisan bill when they held the Senate and
President Obama insisted upon imposing costly new
cybersecurity mandates on businesses. With the Senate
takeover by the Republicans in 2014, coupled with high-
profile attacks on Sony, Home Depot, and the Office of
Personnel Management, progress was then made on
passage of the legislation. The Democrats, having seen
reason, decided to compromise and helped with its passage.

The purpose of the bill is to let private businesses share
information with each other, as well as with the government,
for the purpose of uniting to combat an escalating and ever-
evolving cyber threat. As hackers can, and do, strike with
lightening speed, real-time cooperation is vital. However,
some large tech firms, among them Apple and Twitter, claim
that the bill doesn't do enough to protect the privacy of
individual computer users and may allow broad powers
for the government to spy on individuals and organizations
who are online.

It must be pointed out, though, that although the government
makes mistakes (and some of them are prize foulups!), the
bigger threat to privacy is from domestic criminals and
foreign-government hackers. The bill does, as a matter of fact,
provides for penalties if Uncle Sam misuses the information.
Another provision states that before either side can share data,
any personal information that might impinge upon customer
privacy must be scrubbed.

Some of the tech giants aside, most American businesses
support the passage of this bill. President Obama even
signed the legislation (!) straightaway. The age of miracles
has not ceased! Your grateful Peasant heartily praises the
now-retired president for his signing this vital bill into law!
It will be a helpful law that will aid companies in protecting
their data from cyber crooks as well as bolster privacy
for individuals and organizations who access the internet.


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