As more of our daily lives are lived in the digital world, the security of our personal information online has become of paramount importance. Recent high-profile data breaches and hacking conducted by both government agencies and private companies highlight the need to protect sensitive data from thieves and spies while also maintaining Americans’ privacy.
Unfortunately, some are calling for sweeping new laws to exempt companies from existing privacy laws in the name of cybersecurity. They want “cyber-threat” information to be shared not just with civilian agencies but also with the intelligence community and the military. Others in the intelligence community have called on tech companies to ensure that the government can circumvent protections offered by encryption so that it can seize the data of users.
These laws must be carefully drafted to ensure that sensitive private information—financial, medical, political, or other personal information—is removed before it is shared. We must also make sure that the cybersecurity mission is vested in a civilian agency to prevent new cybersecurity information sharing laws from becoming another avenue by which the government can spy on Americans. And we continue to advocate against so-called “encryption backdoors,” which, by ensuring your data is accessible to the government, make the Internet less safe for everyone.
The ACLU is at the forefront of efforts to push back against ill-considered cybersecurity proposals. We are also, crucially, leading efforts to craft affirmative cybersecurity policies for both government and the private sector that will help prevent cybercrime and hacking while also protecting personal privacy and civil liberties.