Our world runs on computers and the Internet. We use them for everything, from communicating with long-lost classmates to managing our bank accounts to buying anything from cars to diapers. The effort to keep these systems secure is known as cybersecurity. Unfortunately, all too often, simple, effective steps to enhance cybersecurity, like changing passwords routinely or updating and patching holes in software, are not taken. Even when they are, sophisticated hackers can sometimes get around these defenses.
Now, the government is using concerns about cybersecurity to try to expand its power and to encourage companies to funnel our sensitive, personal online information to it.
Some in the government want to give the National Security Agency, a division of the Defense Department, and the largest and most powerful spy agency in the world, the power to collect Internet use records. Under such a scheme, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, Facebook and every other company that operates on the Internet could share our private information with the military for cybersecurity purposes. Once the government has its hands on the information, there might not be meaningful limits to how it could be used, how long the government could keep the information, or with whom it could share the information. All existing privacy protections would be swept aside in the name of cybersecurity, opening up medical records, private emails, financial information – anything – to prying military eyes.
In the name of cybersecurity, the NSA would be able to compile massive quantities of private data, even about people who have done nothing wrong - all without a warrant or proper oversight.
The ACLU is pushing back against proposals that threaten to do an end run on our hard-won privacy protections. Cybersecurity is important, but it cannot justify the military barging into the civilian realm and trampling on our rights.
ACLU joins coalition of civil society groups and security experts to highlight the threats to privacy and civil liberties posed by the draft Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015 (March 2, 2015 Letter)
Broad Coalition Opposes the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2014
ACLU Letter to House Members Urging "No" Vote on CISPA (April 15, 2013)
Coalition Letter Urging House Opposition to CISPA (April 15, 2013)
Coalition Letter to White House Urging Veto of CISPA (March 19, 2013)
Coalition Letter Urging “No” Vote on CISPA (H.R. 624) (March 11, 2013)
ACLU’s Statement before House Homeland Security Committee on DHS Cybersecurity (March 2013)