S. 3414, the Cybersecurity Act, was recently significantly improved with several new privacy- oriented changes, including a mandate that information shared with the government under the program go to civilian agencies and not the National Security Agency or other military components.
The bill would have required annual reports from the departments of Justice, Homeland Security, Defense as well as the Intelligence Community Inspectors General, which would have described what information is received, who gets it, and what is done with it. It also would have given Americans the right to sue the government if it intentionally or willfully violates the law.
“Regardless of today’s vote, the issue of cybersecurity is far from dead,” said Michelle Richardson, ACLU legislative counsel. “When Congress inevitably picks up this issue again, the privacy amendments in this bill should remain the vanguard for any future bills. We’ll continue to work with Congress to make sure that the government’s cybersecurity efforts include privacy protections. Cybersecurity and our online privacy should not be a zero sum game.”