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The PostScript

Then & Now: You’re Still Not Protected!

Alexandria Riley, Taking Back The Web

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What is older than the World Wide Web and supposed to protect your every move?

The Electronic Communications Privacy Act of 1968. This act was passed by congress to protect your electronic information as you are generating and storing it online, over the phone, and on your computer.

The ECPA of 1986 is still used today to help protect our digital privacy, from our online activity to usage of our cell phones, however, neither of those things were around at the time the act was passed. So what does this law protect? Nothing and no one.

Fast forward to June 2013 when government contractor Edward Snowden, a 29-year-old technical assistant for the CIA, leaked information regarding surveillance of Americans’ digital communication by the National Security Agency.

The NSA is a U.S. intelligence agency based in Meade, Maryland, which collects and analyzes signals from foreign and domestic sources to use as intelligence and counterintelligence.

After Snowden’s information leak, President Obama proposed the making of the “2015 Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights,” which is to protect individual privacy rights, give you more control of your information and guarantee that privacy rules are up-to-date, according to the White House Office of the Press Secretary.

However, the technology we have now allows our “digital footprint” to be more traceable by the government and other agencies than we could ever imagine. We essentially lose, and now, have lost more than just our privacy, but also our security and other lawful values such as free speech and equality. We lose these essentials because our privacy, which is supposed to be protected, is actually invaded by our own government. This idea of the loss of essential rights comes from the American Civil Liberties Union, a small group founded in 1920 who is “committed to fight for freedom and the protection of constitutional rights for generations to come.”

As we begin to think about how our privacy is actually protected there is also the thought of our cybersecurity, what keeps us safe from hackers, viruses, and etc. while on our digital devices.

Threats to cybersecurity, which include your privacy on the internet and personal digital devices, has been found to also affect the “government security, economic prosperity, and public safety,” according to the National Conference of State Legislation.

Over the past few months it was reported that the Russians hacked the Democratic National Committee, stealing and leaking to the public over tens of thousands of emails. Experts found all of their evidence by geography, language, history and motivation. They believe that due to GOP Presidential candidate, Donald Trump’s relationship with Putin, the Russians will do anything to disrupt the DNC according to NBC News.

Since finding cybersecurity threats and the recent hacks by Russia, the NCSL, presented a bill to congress that is to create cybersecurity commissions, require government/public agencies to implement security practices, motivate the [cybersecurity] industry, and also promote education in cybersecurity.

The bill, now Act, presented by the NCSL is The Cybersecurity Act of 2015 which “promotes and encourages the private sector and the US government to rapidly and responsibly exchange cyber information” according to the Information Systems Audit and Control Association, Incorporated. ISACA is a U.S. non-profit incorporation that was founded in 1967 by a small group of people who provide auditing controls for computer systems in over 180 countries.

Alongside the acts that have been passed and the many other digital privacy and cybersecurity bills pending, we see that there is in fact a need for our digital privacy and security to be more safeguarded.

Some framework has already been built for us, so this is where we step in. Just think, if we are really concerned about our privacy protection and cybersecurity when will we begin protecting it ourselves since the government seems to be facing the same issues they create for us?

View Alexandria Riley’s blog Taking Back The Web.

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A student news site of Columbia College
Then & Now: You’re Still Not Protected!