Currently, the Internet is loosely governed through a voluntary multi-stakeholder process by international non-profit organizations — such as Internet Corporation for Assigned Numbers and Names (ICANN), World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), and Internet Society — that agree upon and set standards for things like code, cybersecurity, domain names and more.
The U.S. currently supports the voluntary multi-stakeholder model. While governments play a role in cybersecurity, the burden is largely upon private companies to defend their own networks. Current debate over the Cybersecurity Act of 2012 is centered around the kind of a role the government should play in combating cyberthreats.
Under the new bill, the United States would look to “build consensus on principles and standards of conduct that protect computer systems and users that rely on them, prevent and punish acts of cybercrime, and promote the free flow of information.”
“A comprehensive national cyberspace strategy must include tools for addressing threats to computer systems and acts of cybercrime from sources and by persons outside the United States,” said the bill.
The federal government is already using social networks and other online communication tools to monitor crime. Privacy advocates complain that the bill, as with the other cyberbills on the table, does little in the way of protecting privacy.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a San Francisco-based digital civil liberties group, criticized the legislation back in March for its vague language and broad countermeasures, which could lead to further digital surveillance of Internet users.
Further debate over proposed amendments to the bill is taking place this week.