Originally published: April 15, 2012
Last updated: April 19, 2012 - 5:10pm
Facebook defended its support for a controversial cybersecurity bill that has raised the ire of Internet activists. Joel Kaplan, Facebook's vice president of U.S. public policy, wrote that the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) "would make it easier for Facebook and other companies to receive critical threat data from the U.S. government."
CISPA would tear down legal barriers that discourage companies from sharing information about cyberattacks. But activists fear it would undermine the privacy of Internet users. They argue the broad language of the bill could lead companies to hand over information unrelated to cyberattacks, including users' names, addresses and Internet activity. They are also concerned because the bill would give military spy agencies, such as the National Security Agency, access to the information the companies share with the government. Kaplan noted that the legislation does not force Facebook to hand over user information to the government. "Facebook has no intention of doing this and it is unrelated to the things we liked about HR 3523 in the first place — the additional information it would provide us about specific cyber threats to our systems and users," he wrote. Kaplan explained that when one company detects a cyberattack, promptly sharing information about that attack can help other companies to protect their systems and users. He said that Facebook has been working with lawmakers to amend the bill to address the privacy concerns, and said the bill’s sponsors have indicated "the door is still open to change the bill."
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