Fourth Amendment

Here comes the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act

Fourth Amendment
Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution

Here we go again. Hot on the heels of the SOPA/PIPA shelving, Harry Reid and the Democrats are launching a new assault on Internet privacy — the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2012. This time the attack is not being led by the recording industry; it’s being done by our own government in the name of cybersecurity.

We all want cybersecurity, right? However, this legislation, still in draft form, would allow corporations and the government to share your private Internet information with virtually no restrictions, whether or not you’re guilty of any wrongdoing. Requirement to notify you? Nope. Ask your permission? No way. Requirement to get a warrant? Nope, warrants went out with the Bush administration.

Last year Pres. Obama recommended that the Department of Homeland Security be given broad regulatory authority for cybersecurity matters over civilian networks. The White House proposal also recommended that the DHS program be “developed in consultation with privacy and civil liberties experts and with the approval of the Attorney General.”

A recent bill in the House empowers DHS in the event of a cyberattack but has been criticized by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid as not giving the agency enough power. Reid favors an approach that would expand DHS authority beyond currently regulated “critical infrastructure,” such as utilities and financial institutions, to also include Internet service providers and private networks.

In a detailed discussion, the Cato Institute’s Jim Harper explains:

Reading over the draft, I was struck by sweeping language purporting to create “affirmative authority to monitor and defend against cybersecurity threats.” To understand the strangeness of these words, we must start at the beginning:

We live in a free country where all that is not forbidden is allowed. There is no need in such a country for “affirmative” authority to act. So what does this section do as it in purports to permit private and governmental entities to monitor their information systems, operate active defenses, and such? It sweeps aside nearly all other laws controlling them.

“Consistent with the Constitution of the United States and notwithstanding and other provision of law,” it says (emphasis added), entities may act to preserve the security of their systems. This means that the only law controlling their actions would be the Constitution.

The DHS has already announced the hiring of 1,000 new cybersecurity experts.

Apparently our government is determined to control the Internet and infringe our Internet privacy one way or another. Worse, it wants to assign enforcement to the DHS, that beloved agency that oversees the TSA and already does such a great job of denying us our Fourth Amendment rights at the nation’s airports.

~ Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty ~

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