UPDATE: CISPA passed the House with a vote of 288-127. While one hand was waving Boston in our faces, the other was dismantling our Fourth Amendment.
Online privacy is at greater risk than ever, with new CISPA designs to hand private data over to NSA Peeping Toms.
There have been faint but persistent cries to focus on important political happenings behind the fog of terror that has dominated the news cycle since the bombing at the Boston Marathon and subsequent letters laced with ricin were sent, we are told, to both a member in Congress and to the White House.
Even as gun legislation over background checks was defeated in the Senate and Obama has cried foul, lawmakers are readying to vote on a new version of the CISPA (Cyber Information Sharing and Protection Act), one of several dreaded attempts to regulate the Internet at the price of cyber-freedom. [pullquote]To say the least, the Bill of Rights is completely meaningless to anyone operating in Washington, apart from the hassle of circumventing it while appearing to respect its rather clear boundaries for individual freedoms, personal privacy and due process under law.[/pullquote]
At the top of the list of many concerns is the framework that allows private companies to share information on its users with the government. As CNET has pointed out, this essentially renders privacy policies to be meaningless. This and other privacy issues have created severe backlash throughout online communities.
Opposition to the new version of CISPA was noted by the Economist, who presented the objections of Mozilla’s Harvey Anderson, who said CISPA: “creates a black hole” through which all kinds of data could be sucked in by the government.
When CISPA passed the House last year and threatened to pass in the Senate, enough outcry was created by online activists to defeat it. Previous versions of similar legislation via the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA) were also halted before becoming law.
At the other end of the spectrum, several important sectors from Silicon Valley are backing the new round of legislation, while Big Blue has unleashed a force of more than 200 lobbyists on Capitol Hill to cozy up to members of Congress and push for the bill’s passage.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation protested the fact that Rep. Mike Rogers hailed support from Silicon Valley CEOs while characterizing opponents to CISPA as mere ’14-year olds tweeting in their basement.’
IBM’s Vice President for Governmental Affairs, Chris Padilla, is openly praising the idea that companies should share data with the National Security Agency, the nation’s foremost snooper engaged in a new vaguely defined conflict to control information dubbed the “cyberwar,” despite all the creepy implications of the all-seeing agency.
The Hill reported Padilla’s comments, noting his intention that: companies need to be able to share threat data directly with the NSA “because that’s where the expertise is.”
“It’s our experience that the most effective thing you can do when a cyberattack occurs is to share information quickly between government and industry and between industry actors in real time in order to find where the attack is coming from and to shut it down,” Padilla added.
IBM has been a de facto technological engine for the shadow government since at least the time of the Holocaust, using their data to track individuals and facilitate social engineering in many profound ways. So, partnering with the NSA openly is hardly a stretch of its mission.
Obama has pledged to veto the CISPA bill if it clears Congress, but those promises have rung hollow too many times before, with his hypocritical reversal on NDAA as perhaps the gravest example of double-crossing the American people and fast-tracking extra-legal government authority.
President Obama, who prefers to rule by fiat, has already issued executive orders empowering cybersecurity actions on the Internet and facilitating national security datamining practices.
To say the least, the Bill of Rights is completely meaningless to anyone operating in Washington, apart from the hassle of circumventing it while appearing to respect its rather clear boundaries for individual freedoms, personal privacy and due process under law.