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Sacrificing Privacy for Cybersecurity?

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Increase in connectivity, and vulnerability

With the increase in the connectivity of our country, we are seeing a growth of a broader platform for potential vulnerabilities from would-be attackers. Companies, as well as individuals, are starting to see the increased need to ensure the security of their network and to protect against cyber threats.

The theme of increased cybersecurity is being pushed from the top down. The federal government is a big player in this, as seen with the passing of the Cybersecurity Act of 2015.

Sharing of gathered intelligence

The Cybersecurity Act of 2015 requires the establishment of a pathway for sharing cybersecurity information between the Director of National Intelligence, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Defense, and the Department of Justice. Additionally, private entities, nonfederal government agencies, state, tribal, and local governments, the public, and other entities can contribute, as well. This pathway for communication is said to work both ways, as private entities can voluntarily share information about cyber threats directly with the Department of Homeland Security.

Potential privacy concerns

Potential privacy issues arise in this setup. That is, private companies could possibly share private information about their users’ with the government, and some of those users may not be directly involved with the cyber security threat at hand.

Yet, the law does not hold the entity liable--the entity is free from prosecution--if the the company shares the information without knowing the lack of connection "at the time of sharing."

Many tech companies such as Google and Facebook, along with various civil liberties groups, have expressed opposition to this act, and have suggested this law serves as a de-facto replacement for the NSA’s mass surveillance program that was ruled unconstitutional.

Adam Herndon Adam served ten years in the United States Army primarily in the Operations and Physical Security realm. His tour allowed him to serve in the DC Metro area as the Operations for a Military Police Company and a Sniper/Observer team member for the Military District of Washington's Special Reaction Team, Hawaii as Operations for a Brigade Combat Team, and Fort Leavenworth as the Operations for the Department of Emergency Services as well as a Physical Security Specialist. Adam now works for the University of Foreign Military and Cultural Studies, where Critical Thinking and Group Think Mitigation are taught in hopes of bettering the decision making process and the development of better plans and ideas.