As an American citizen, a woman, and a heavy user of the Internet, I feel I am under constant assault by my own government. There has been an ongoing stream of legislation and regulation in recent years with the sole purpose of giving the government more rights while whittling away at mine.
The latest volley is CISPA — the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act. The name alone puts one on guard. Here they come after our Internet privacy … again. You know darn well when you see the name that it is not about sharing with and protecting us, the little guys. It is, of course, about corporations sharing our personal information with the government. No warrants, no probable cause, no constitutional protections for us. Those little niceties just get in the government’s way. Out with them! We, the government, are here to protect you, and we must not be impeded in our pursuit of that end! We must sacrifice your rights in order to protect them!
TechDirt explained it this way:
Previously, CISPA allowed the government to use information for “cybersecurity” or “national security” purposes. Those purposes have not been limited or removed. Instead, three more valid uses have been added: investigation and prosecution of cybersecurity crime, protection of individuals, and protection of children. Cybersecurity crime is defined as any crime involving network disruption or hacking, plus any violation of the CFAA.
Basically this means CISPA can no longer be called a cybersecurity bill at all. The government would be able to search information it collects under CISPA for the purposes of investigating American citizens with complete immunity from all privacy protections as long as they can claim someone committed a “cybersecurity crime”. Basically it says the 4th Amendment does not apply online, at all. Moreover, the government could do whatever it wants with the data as long as it can claim that someone was in danger of bodily harm, or that children were somehow threatened—again, notwithstanding absolutely any other law that would normally limit the government’s power.
President Obama has said he’ll veto the bill, but that’s what he said about the NDAA too. I’m as tired of saying it as you are of hearing it, but Washington needs to hear from you. Wiser heads than mine are saying this is worse than SOPA. Go to Congress.org, OpenCongress.org, or use whatever method you prefer to contact your representatives in Washington and tell them — again — what you think of people who want to invade your privacy on the Internet. Tell them CISPA is no more acceptable than SOPA was.
- Sneak attack: surprise amendment makes CISPA worse, then it is voted and passed a day ahead of schedule. Congress just deleted the Fourth Amendment (boingboing.net)
- CISPA Passed The House With Amendments That Make It Worse (dvorak.org)
- “Worse than SOPA” CISPA bill passes (slashgear.com)
- CISPA: Act now (benwerd.com)
- White House Threatens Veto, ACLU Says CISPA Amendments Not Enough (reason.com)
- Insanity: CISPA Just Got Way Worse, And Then Passed On Rushed Vote (techdirt.com)
- EFF Condemns CISPA, Vows to Take Fight to the Senate (eff.org)
- CISPA revision allows DHS Internet ‘countermeasures’ (cnet.com)
- CISPA: Who’s for it, who’s against it and how it could affect you (washingtonpost.com)