My seen-it-all cool was shaken yesterday when I examined how a Senate cybersecurity bill would scythe down legal protections for privacy. Anyone participating in government “cybersecurity exchanges” would have nearly total immunity from liability under any law. No Privacy Act, no ECPA, no E-Government Act, no contract law, no privacy torts. The scuttlebutt is that Senator Reid (D-NV) may push this especially hard as payback to the Internet for the SOPA/PIPA debacle.
In the push for cybersecurity legislation, Congress is driven far more by its desire to act (and D.C. lobbyists’ desire to have Congress act) than by any plausible contribution it can make to the difficult problem of securing computers, networks, and data. That’s why this cybersecurity bill, and all others I have seen, have greater costs than benefits.
Read about the devastation for privacy and the rule of law on offer in a current draft in “The Senate’s SOPA Counterattack?: Cybersecurity the Undoing of Privacy.”