Apple, Dropbox Slam CISA Cyber-Security Bill

Apple and Dropbox join the swelling ranks of tech companies voicing their opposition to the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) and the lack of privacy protections.

Larry Loeb, Blogger, Informationweek

October 21, 2015

3 Min Read
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14 Security Fails That Cost Executives Their Jobs

14 Security Fails That Cost Executives Their Jobs

14 Security Fails That Cost Executives Their Jobs (Click image for larger view and slideshow.)

Apple and Dropbox have joined a number of other tech companies in opposing the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA), which would give the US government new powers to spy on Americans.

The companies' opposition to the bill comes a few days before the Senate expects to vote on CISA, which would enable the sharing of cyberthreat indicators between private sector businesses and the US government. It is backed by the Obama administration.

"We don't support the current CISA proposal. The trust of our customers means everything to us and we don't believe security should come at the expense of their privacy," according to a statement released by Apple Oct. 20, The Washington Post reported

While Apple's position statement joins the trend of tech companies opposing the bill in the last few days, CEO Tim Cook has long been a strong advocate of privacy.

At the WSJDLive conference in Laguna Beach, Calif., Monday Cook said, "Do we want our nation to be secure? Of course. No one should have to decide between privacy or security. We should be smart enough to do both. Both of these things are essentially part of the Constitution."

Dropbox also made a strong statement against the bill.

"While it's important for the public and private sector to share relevant data about emerging threats," said Amber Cottle, head of Dropbox global public policy and government affairs, "that type of collaboration should not come at the expense of users' privacy."

Further, Burke Norton, Salesforce's chief legal officer, told the Electronic Frontier Foundation that, "At Salesforce, trust is our number one value and nothing is more important to our company than the privacy of our customers' data. Contrary to reports, Salesforce does not support CISA and has never supported CISA."

Several other tech companies, including Yelp, Reddit, Twitter, and the Wikimedia Foundation (which runs Wikipedia) have come out against CISA in recent days, according to The Washington Post.

[Read 3 Reasons Why Giving Government a Backdoor Is a Bad Idea.]

Additionally, two tech industry trade groups, the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA) and the Business Software Alliance (BSA), have expressed their opposition to CISA.

CCIA members include Google, Facebook, Yahoo, Amazon, CloudFlare, T-Mobile, and Netflix. BSA members include Adobe, Autodesk, Dell, IBM, Microsoft, Oracle, and Symantec.

The CCIA said in a statement that, "the mechanism for sharing of cyber threat information does not sufficiently protect users' privacy or appropriately limit the permissible uses of information shared with the government. In addition, the bill authorizes entities to employ network defense measures that might cause collateral harm to the systems of innocent third parties."

The statement added, "... Such a system should not come at the expense of users' privacy, need not be used for purposes unrelated to cybersecurity, and must not enable activities that might actively destabilize the infrastructure the bill aims to protect."

About the Author(s)

Larry Loeb

Blogger, Informationweek

Larry Loeb has written for many of the last century's major "dead tree" computer magazines, having been, among other things, a consulting editor for BYTE magazine and senior editor for the launch of WebWeek. He has written a book on the Secure Electronic Transaction Internet protocol. His latest book has the commercially obligatory title of Hack Proofing XML. He's been online since uucp "bang" addressing (where the world existed relative to !decvax), serving as editor of the Macintosh Exchange on BIX and the VARBusiness Exchange. His first Mac had 128 KB of memory, which was a big step up from his first 1130, which had 4 KB, as did his first 1401. You can e-mail him at [email protected].

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