Economy, Sci & Tech

Google, Facebook, Amazon Oppose New Cybersecurity Law

Google, Facebook, Amazon Oppose New Cybersecurity LawGoogle, Facebook, Amazon Oppose New Cybersecurity Law

Some of the world's largest tech firms have come together to issue a public protest against a controversial US cybersecurity bill that is likely to be passed by politicians in that country.

The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, due to be laid out for US Senate consideration in the next few weeks, has noble aims based around the sharing of threat intelligence between private companies and the government.

But its critics say it does not adequately protect users' privacy. One of those, the Computer and Communications Industry Association, says the current proposal fails to "limit the permissible uses of information shared with the government".

The association says the existing bill will allow network defensive measures that could inadvertently cause harm to innocent third parties. In an open letter published on Thursday, the association, which represents Google, Facebook, Microsoft, Amazon and eBay, as well as several other major tech firms, said it approved of the goal of the legislation—to aid in the fight against crime and terrorism—but could not support it in its current form.

The association says it is keen to work with the US government to improve the bill, as well as other cybersecurity legislation, but it hopes the end result will be based more around a voluntary framework backed up by a strong level of privacy protection and with appropriate restrictions on use.

The current bill has attracted wide support from both Democrats and Republicans, but there are some dissenting voices on both sides of the political spectrum, including staunch Republican senators.

Not all government agencies are overly enamored by the new bill either—in August, the US Department of Homeland Security Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas said the bill "raises privacy and civil liberties concerns", and the legal immunity given to data-sharing companies could "sweep away important privacy protections."