Cybercrime Bill Ups the Ante
A House Judiciary subcommittee will consider the Cyber Security Enhancement Act (CSEA), which ups the penalties for computer intrusions, funds surveillance research and encourages Internet providers to turn over more information to police.
CSEA, sponsored by Crime Subcommittee chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas), is one of Congress' more recent responses to the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks. Smith introduced the bill in December 2001, saying that it will "combat cybercrime and cyberterrorism and send the signal that if you engage in cybercrime or cyberterrorism, you will be punished."
Currently it's illegal for an Internet provider to "knowingly divulge" what you're doing except in some specific circumstances, such as when troubleshooting glitches, receiving a court order or tipping off police that a crime's in progress. The bill expands that list to include when "an emergency involving danger of death or serious physical injury to any person requires disclosure of the information without delay."
As an incentive for Internet providers not to be overly zealous in handing over terabytes of data to the feds, current law allows customers to sue for damages. But if CSEA took effect, an Internet provider's "good faith determination" that something smelled fishy would immunize it from lawsuits by irate customers...