2012 is shaping up to be the year of cyber legislation. After SOPA and PIPA were defeated early this year, all attention turned towards CISPA. Even though the Internet put forth a strong effort, the lack of support from major giants like Google or Wikipedia ensured its passing in the House. Whereas CISPA was passed without adding any amendments to protect consumer privacy, the Cybersecurity Act of 2012 will be going up for debate tomorrow over any proposed amendments.
One of the major champions of Internet freedom, Sen. Ron Wyden, plans to introduce an amendment into the CSA tomorrow that would prevent warrantless GPS tracking. According to The Hill, Wyden feels it's a natural fit with the CSA's consumer protections:
"Because the law has not kept up with the pace of innovation, it makes sense to include the GPS Act’s requirement that law enforcement obtain a warrant for GPS tracking in the Cybersecurity Act. This will protect Americans’ location information from misuse. Part of the goal of the cybersecurity legislation is to update rules for information collection and privacy for the digital age, which is what the GPS Act is all about.”
Wyden's amendment would be the latest privacy protection that has been introduced to the CSA. It would appear that the Senate is taking privacy concerns seriously as they debate and change the wording in their version of a cybersecurity bill. One such change is a clarification in the bill that only allows companies to share cybersecurity information with civilian agencies. CISPA puts this information in the hands of the NSA, a military agency.
After the debate process, the CSA will be going up for a vote before the Senate leaves for its August recess. If we're lucky, all the privacy protections will be retained. There will definitely be some skepticism in regards to the proceedings after CISPA was up for debate, but was instead pushed for an impromptu vote without allowing any amendments to be considered.
We'll keep you up to date on any changes that CSA may face. It's the cybersecurity bill favored by President Obama so it may be the one that gets through.