The looming threat of cyberterrorism is being ramped up by the day–from government officials to mainstream media pundits–who say that cyberterror will soon outweigh terrorism as the number one security threat facing the United States. It’s a threat that’s all too certain, as the federal government continues to make the claim stressing how it’s not a matter of if, but when a cyber attack will occur in this the US. At a recent congressional hearing entitled “America is Under Cyber Attack: Why Urgent Action is Needed,” Subcommittee Chairman Michael McCaul exclaimed how “It’s not a matter of if, but when a cyber Pearl Harbor will occur.”
Overall, the cyberterror hype seems to be working–a recent poll reveals that Americans are now more scared of cyberterrorism than actual terrorism. In response to the climate of fear, the federal government has already started to draft legislation to deal with the threat. The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, or CISPA, is a bill that would permit massive collusion between corporations and the government to gain access to private user data.
It has already passed the House, and is now awaiting a Senate vote. Critics of the legislation warn that the bills proposed are too broad, and could pave the way for government abuse. “When it comes to protecting our civil rights and civil liberties, we don’t usually give the government a blank check, and that’s what these bills have done in a lot of ways,” explains Matt Wood, Policy Director for Free Press. He continues to describe how the government’s excessive response doesn’t match the threat, and that these laws could be used simply for corporations to capitalize off the elimination of privacy at the risk of impeding Net Neutrality. “It could be a competitive threat, it doesn’t have to be something you and I define as a cyber security threat, just a threat to their current bottom line or business,” Wood states. Whether or not CISPA passes the Senate, one thing remains clear. The government will continue its constant attempts to control the Internet, and the blanket threat of cyberterrorism may be the perfect avenue to convince the people of this country into giving up their rights to privacy on the Internet once and for all.