Top Five Internet Issues to Watch in 2013

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Cybersecurity Legislation

What's the issue? The U.S. government, companies and Internet users themselves all face growing cybersecurity threats. Sharing information about those threats is critical to counter them. However, cybersecurity bills introduced in the last Congress threatened privacy by authorizing over-sharing of information, and because they could have put the super-secret National Security Agency (NSA) in effective control of civilian cybersecurity program.

What's at stake? The nation's civilian cybersecurity program could turn into an intelligence wiretapping program. To avoid this, the sharing of information about cybersecurity threats must be carefully constrained, the authority to counter those threats clearly and narrowly defined, and a civilian agency -- the Department of Homeland Security -- should be in charge.

If the nation's super-secret spy organization, the NSA, becomes an unconstrained hub for cybersecurity information sharing, there will be no public accountability for its use and misuse of Internet communications shared with it, and no confidence that Internet communications it obtains for cybersecurity purposes are not used for unrelated intelligence surveillance. Activists who rose up to defeat SOPA and PIPA are ready to defend the Internet against such a disaster.

This piece is the opinion of the author and does not represent the opinion of ABC News.

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