The idea of “information sharing” has received a lot of attention since September 11, 2001. Before then even the FBI and CIA did not share their online intelligence with each other. However, since then there has been a strong push by the government encouraging the sharing of as much information as possible between agencies. Information sharing, promoted by the Patriot Act in 2001, is essentially what it sounds and is the sharing and passing of information from one company or agency to another. The idea is that the more communication there is between government agencies and companies, then the higher the security is and there is a less likely chance of an attack. The bill CISPA (Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protecting Act) has been proposed since late 2011, but has not passed, which allows the obligated legal sharing of data from companies to the government upon request.
The bills purpose claims to help the government ensure security and combat cyber security attacks however antagonists claim the bill gives too much power to the government over citizens privacy. Advocates against the bill claim CISPA gives the government too much freedom in declaring a “cyber attack” and they can use this to infringe upon citizens and access their private information without a search warrant. If CISPA passed, agencies like the NSA would need little to no reasoning to search through private information such as Facebook posts, Gmail messages, or Twitter messages on citizens. Opponents of the bill claim the government already has unlimited access on citizens personal information however the bill gives them full access to this information without any reasoning such as search warrants or evidence. They claim CISPA will not further protect cyber attacks at all but will only further impinge on the little internet privacy citizens currently have.
Some supporters of the bill include Microsoft, Facebook, AT&T, IBM, and Apple, and they look at it as an effective means to further security against cyber attacks however there are also many who do not support the bill. It does not look like the bill will pass in the near future however the argument surrounding shared information is very controversial and brings the question up of how important is citizens privacy related to national security? The answer remains unknown.