CISPA – The New Big Brother Bill and Why You Should Hate it

My Take: The articles below speak for themselves.  After popular revulsion was able to thwart the prior Constitution demolishing internet spy bills, our “representatives” in Congress have regrouped and passed something far worse in the House with a vote now set for the Senate.  As I have maintained for quite a long time, I believe much of Congress is cognizant of their criminal behavior and more importantly they view themselves as better than “we the people” and are now openly manifesting their fear and disgust for the citizenry by passing authoritarian bill after authoritarian bill to protect themselves from the people they supposedly represent.  I want to close my thoughts with a powerful quote from one of my American heroes – Henry David Thoreau.  I’m not trying to tell anyone what they should or shouldn’t do, but I am one hundred percent certain that we all need to think about these things more deeply than ever before.

Must the citizen ever for a moment, or in the least degree, resign his conscience to the legislator? Why has every man a conscience, then? I think that we should be men first, and subjects afterward. It is not desirable to cultivate a respect for the law, so much as for the right. The only obligation which I have a right to assume is to do at any time what I think right.

I agree with the above.  I do not answer to any man or man-made institution. We must answer to something far higher than that, whatever that may mean to you.  We are sovereign human beings and we should never under any circumstances live on our knees or expect our others to do so.

One final thing before I leave you with the CISPA articles.  My grandmother just recently passed away.  While it is a sad time for my family, she had been very sick for a long time and I know she is now at peace.  Besos y amor Granty.

What Everyone Who Uses The Internet Needs To Know About CISPA

By Annie-Rose Strasser and Scott Keyes on Apr 27, 2012 at 5:10 pm

Congress is on the cusp of passing a new bill that could threaten any internet user’s civil liberties. The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, a digital equivalent of allowing the government to fight perceived threats by monitoring which books citizens check out from the library, passed the House yesterday and will now be taken up by the Senate.

Online advocates, fresh off their victory against the Stop Online Piracy Act, are now gearing up to oppose CISPA because of the disastrous effect the bill could have for private information on the internet. The bill’s opponents argue that it goes too far in the name of cybersecurity, endangering citizens’ personal online information by giving the government access to anything from users’ private emails to their browsing history.

As the fight in the Senate begins, here is everything you need to know about CISPA:

CISPA’s broad language will likely give the government access to anyone’s personal information with few privacy protections: CISPA allows the government access to any “information pertaining directly to a vulnerability of, or threat to, a system or network of a government or private entity.” There is little indication of what this information could include, and what it means to be ‘pertinent’ to cyber security. Without boundaries, any internet user’s personal, private information would likely be fair game for the government.

It supersedes all other provisions of the law protecting privacy: As the bill is currently written, CISPA would apply “notwithstanding any other provision of law.” In other words, privacy restrictions currently in place would not apply to CISPA. As a result, companies could disclose more personal information about users than necessary. As Technica writes, “if a company decides that your private emails, your browsing history, your health care records, or any other information would be helpful in dealing with a ‘cyber threat,’ the company can ignore laws that would otherwise limit its disclosure.”

The bill completely exempts itself from the Freedom of Information Act: Citizens and journalists have access to most things the government does via the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), a key tool for increasing transparency. However, CISPA completely exempts itself from FOIA requests. The Sunlight Foundation blasted CISPA for “entirely” dismissing FOIA’s “fundamental safeguard for public oversight of government’s activities.”

Read more here

How CISPA would affect you (faq)

by Declan McCullagh April 27, 2012 4:00 AM PDT

House Intelligence Chairman Mike Rogers, who says CISPA will not endanger Americans’ privacy.

(Credit: U.S. House of Representatives)

It took a debate that stretched to nearly seven hours, and votes on over a dozen amendments, but the U.S. House of Representatives finally approved the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act on April 26.

Passions flared on both sides before the final vote on CISPA, which cleared the House by a comfortable margin of 248 to 168.

CISPA would “waive every single privacy law ever enacted in the name of cybersecurity,” Rep. Jared Polis, a Colorado Democrat and onetime Web entrepreneur, said during the debate. “Allowing the military and NSA to spy on Americans on American soil goes against every principle this country was founded on.”

Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and author of CISPA, responded by telling his colleagues to ignore “all the things they’re saying about the bill that are not true.” He pleaded: “Stand for America! Support this bill!”

While CISPA initially wasn’t an especially partisan bill — it cleared the House Intelligence Committee by a vote of 17 to 1 last December — it gradually moved in that direction. The final tally was 206 Republicans voting for it, and 28 opposed. Of the Democrats, 42 voted for CISPA and 140 were opposed. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said afterward on Twitter that CISPA “didn’t strike the right balance” and Republicans “didn’t allow amendments to strengthen privacy protections.”

The ACLU, on the other hand, told CNET that the amendments — even if they had been allowed — would not have been effective. “They just put the veneer of privacy protections on the bill, and will garner more support for the bill even without making substantial changes,” said Michelle Richardson, legislative counsel for the ACLU.

Keep reading for some more details from CNET’s FAQ about what you need to know about CISPA.

Q: What happens next?
CISPA heads to the the Senate, where related cybersecurity legislation has been stalled for years. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, however, has said he’d like to move forward with cybersecurity legislation in May. Its outlook is uncertain.

Senate Democrats may be less likely than House Republicans to advance CISPA after the White House’s veto threat on April 25. The administration said CISPA “effectively treats domestic cybersecurity as an intelligence activity and thus, significantly departs from longstanding efforts to treat the Internet and cyberspace as civilian spheres.”

CISPA Excerpts

Excerpts from the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act:

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, a self-protected entity may, for cybersecurity purposes — (i) use cybersecurity systems to identify and obtain cyber threat information to protect the rights and property of such self-protected entity; and (ii) share such cyber threat information with any other entity, including the Federal Government

The term ‘self-protected entity’ means an entity, other than an individual, that provides goods or services for cybersecurity purposes to itself.”

CISPA’s opponents are already rallying Americans to contact their senators to oppose CISPA. Demand Progress has created a petition. The Electronic Frontier Foundation says it “vows to continue the fight in the Senate.”

Read more here


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