Thank you for speaking out on the important issue of how cybersecurity affects privacy. The President has been clear that the United States urgently needs to modernize our laws and practices relating to cybersecurity, both for national security and the security of our country's businesses -- but that shouldn't come at the expense of privacy.
The White House issued a veto threat for the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) on April 16, because the legislation did not fully address our core concerns (especially the protection of privacy). Even though a bill went on to pass the House of Representatives and includes some important improvements over previous versions, this legislation still doesn't adequately address our fundamental concerns.
But it's not good enough to just stop things: We've got to work together, with legislators on Capitol Hill, technology experts from the private sector, and engaged advocates like you to advance cybersecurity legislation without compromising privacy.
Both the government and private companies -- like individuals -- face the constant threat of cyber crime, espionage, and attacks. If a company discovers that a hacker has broken into its network and is stealing its customers' information (violating their privacy in the process), that company should be able to share what it learns about the intrusion efficiently -- how the hacker got in, what he did while inside, and what he looked for -- with the government and other companies. The government and other businesses would then be able to use this information from the hacker, not his victim, to help prevent future intrusions.
But you might ask, "Isn't this collaboration already happening?" The simple answer is yes, but inefficiently. When it comes to information sharing, we need clearer rules to promote collaboration and protect privacy. Right now, each company has to work out an individual arrangement with the government and other companies on what information to share about cyberthreats. This ambiguity can lead to harmful delays.
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