U.S. Lawmakers Push Anti-Privacy Cyber Legislation After JPMorgan Chase Bank Hack

October 7, 2014 04:00 UTC

Last week, JPMorgan Chase Bank revealed that cyberattacks compromised the personal information of 76 million households along with seven million small businesses. This attack on a major bank pushes it to be one of the largest successful attacks of its kind.

“The data breach at JPMorgan Chase is yet another example of how Americans’ most sensitive personal information is in danger,” Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass., said in a press release Thursday. “It is time to pass legislation to protect Americans against these massive data breaches.”

Unlike the attacks on Home Depot and other fiat retailers, JPMorgan Chase’s files much more sensitive information about their customers. While they claim no account numbers or financial access left their grasp, it’s still unclear how far the devastation reaches. Cryptocurrency users were unaffected, of course.

In response, politicians from all over the United States rushed to speak out in favor of cybersecurity laws, using the attack to spread fear in support of their legislation of choice.

“The longer we wait to take action, the more vulnerable we become, and as we’ve seen today, Americans will pay the price,” Sen. Angus King said in a statement last week upon hearing the news. Along with that sentiment he added:

“Congress must work to pass legislation that will improve our capabilities and protect us against more attacks like these. The next Pearl Harbor will be cyber, and shame on us if we’re not prepared for it.”

The notion comes on the heels of the infamous SOPA and PIPA anti-privacy legislation that Congress has been trying to pass in the United States for years. The tactic of fear-mongering dates more recently back to the aftermath of September 11, 2001, when Congress used a similar tactic to pass the anti-privacy Patriot Act legislation.

Sen. King’s Not-So-Secret CISA Legislation Is Anti-Privacy

On the heels of his Pearl Harbor statement, Sen. King is currently trying to pass the Cyber Information Sharing Act (CISA); legislation that gives companies incentives to share info they gather freely. If companies are then attacked, they aren’t held liable for the information that escapes their grasp. In fact, their encouraged to share information with the government to thwart attacks.

The bill states:

The new, 39-page draft bill, written by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.), chairman of the intelligence committee, and Sen. Saxby Chambliss (Ga.), the ranking Republican, states that no lawsuit may be brought against a company for sharing threat data with “any other entity or the federal government” to prevent, investigate or mitigate a cyberattack.

Sen. Dianne Feinstein

King and Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman Dianne Feinstein are continuing to push the “eerily-similar-to-CISPA” bill since July, when it advances out of the Senate Committee.

“Every week, we hear about the theft of personal information from retailers and trade secrets from innovative businesses, as well as ongoing efforts by foreign nations to hack government networks,” Feinstein said in a statement. “This bill is an important step toward curbing these dangerous cyberattacks.”

The bill is riddled with pro-NSA language, showing what side of end-consumer privacy King and Feinstein reside on. The only hope for the American public is that other politicians won’t fall for the fear-mongering and instead will read the bill, consult with privacy experts and make an educated vote on behalf of the American people.

Photos courtesy of Wikimedia; other images from Shutterstock

Last modified: October 7, 2014 04:03 UTC

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