Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), Google Inc and Yahoo! Inc. United Against Proposed Changes by BIS
Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)(NASDAQ:GOOGL) and Yahoo! Inc. (NASDAQ:YHOO) are up in arms against proposed changes to use of hacking tools. The Bureau of Industry and Security (BIS), a government agency under the U.S. Department of Commerce, is proposing changes that could make it difficult for Internet security researchers to do their thing.
Changes have been proposed to restrict the use of attack tools and that is something that Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB) and peers believe would be detrimental to their personal and collective interests.
2013 Wassenaar Agreement
The hub of the dispute is the so-called Wassenaar Agreement, which is a set of weapon export regulations that signatories updated about in 2013 to include what they called “intrusion software”. While the E.U. came up with its own plan to implement the agreement almost immediately in 2013, the U.S. delayed on its part, but when it decided to act, things are getting sticky.
Call for license to attack
What BIS did recently as part of the plan to implement the 2013 Wassenaar Agreement is put a restriction on the export of hacking tools. What the agency says is that anyone seeking to export attack tools outside the U.S. will require a license to legally do it.
That means problems for security researchers, who regularly export attack codes to identify security vulnerabilities and work to fix them or push for their fixing. Such efforts benefit the masses that use the Internet. That means that requiring license for attack code export would make things difficult for security researchers.
It seems the BIS definition of intrusion software is so broad that it doesn’t distinguish between the attack tools used for Internet security missions and those that cybercriminals may take advantage of to advance attacks on targets.
Facebook and peers say No
What is so clear currently is that Facebook Inc (NASDAQ:FB), Google, Yahoo! and other technology companies are unhappy with any measure that would make safeguarding their systems more difficult.
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