The Protecting Cyber Networks Act (PCNA) has been passed by the House of Representatives, taking the bill one step closer to becoming legislation. The Act must now go before congress for the vote. If passed it will be written into the legislation.
Majority in Favor of the Protecting Cyber Networks Act
When the bill went to the House of Representatives there were some protests over privacy issues surrounding the bill, and even on the floor before the vote was cast there was still some heated debate over the bill. However, the vote was cast 73% to 27% (307-116) in favor of the Act.
Civil Liberties Groups Make their Voices Heard
The Cybersecurity Bill created divided option since it was first proposed, with some privacy critics saying the Act went too far and potentially allowed the NSA to be able to conduct checks on law-abiding U.S citizens.
A letter was signed by 55 civil liberties groups last week in which the Protecting Cyber Networks Act (PCNA) was criticized for the NSA’s increase in “access to personal information, and authorize the federal government to use that information for a myriad of purposes unrelated to cybersecurity.”
Additionally, the letter said PCNA “Fails to provide strong privacy protections or adequate clarity about what actions can be taken, what information can be shared, and how that information may be used by the government.”
The Wiretap Act, Electronic Communications Privacy Act and Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act have introduced measures to protect confidential data and it is feared that the new Act is a method that can be used by the security agencies to bypass certain privacy rights.
Security Measures Clearly Need to Be Increased
The majority of House members believed the bill would be a necessary measure to remove some of the obstacles in the fight against cyber crime.
Over the course of the past 12 months in particular, cyber criminals have been able to break through the defenses of many organizations – and even government departments – and steal confidential data. The reasons for stealing the data are many, and the threat now allegedly also comes from groups of state-backed hackers in North Korea and China.
It is the recent spate of attacks in which millions of personal and corporate records were stolen that prompted the bill to be penned. The White House has now given its backing but Congress still needs to pass the bill before it becomes legislation. The signs are that in spite of past opposition – such as the vote against last year’s Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) – major data breaches since then have swayed many senators’ minds and the Protecting Cyber Networks Act may well soon become written into the legislation.