Posted tagged ‘fishing expeditions’

Big brother is watching you – online

April 30, 2012

That’s what we can expect if CISPA becomes law.

CISPA, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, sounds reasonable at first glance: let’s fight crime and prevent terrorists from using online systems as a safe haven to gather and devise their next plan.

However, the law is far too broad and lacks key checks-and-balances that can prevent abuse.

The ACLU: “The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act would create a cybersecurity exception to all privacy laws and allow companies to share the private and personal data they hold on their American customers with the government for cybersecurity purposes. The bill would not limit the companies to sharing only technical, non-personal data. Instead, it would give the companies discretion to decide the type and amount of information to turn over to the government. If shared in good faith compliance with the statute, these entities would receive full liability protection and would be immune from criminal or civil liability, even after an egregious breach of privacy. Further, once an individual’s information is shared with the government, there would be no restriction on the use of that information. It could be used for any purpose whatsoever and shared with any agency. While such data might be used for cybersecurity purposes, there would be no bar on the government also using it to conduct fishing expeditions for criminal, immigration or other purposes.”

In contrast, a court order is required for a wiretap. From my perspective, that seems to have been effective. So why aren’t there similar safeguards in CISPA?

Unfortunately, CISPA isn’t a theoretical issue. Major tech companies AT&T, Facebook and Verizon pledged allegiance to CISPA. Do AT&T, Facebook or Verizon have personal information about you? Don’t expect that to remain private if CISPA becomes law.

At least Microsoft came to its senses by backing away from its initial support of CISPA.

Meantime, the government has adopted the most hypocritical double standard. On the one hand, the US government celebrates how the internet brings freedom across the world. Just this week, Obama announced new sanctions for Iran and Syria, which are using electronic surveillance to crack down on their citizens: “These technologies should be in place to empower citizens, not to repress them.”

What specifically is targeted here? Iran is “identifying Internet users through their IP address, monitoring e-mail and online activity of individuals critical of the regime; requiring owners of Internet cafes in Iran to install equipment to aid the government in monitoring the activities of the Iranian public.”

Exactly the same privileges the US government wants through the CISPA law. Shameful.

[In fairness, I do realize that Obama has announced his intention to veto CISPA. Yet, I’m sure there are supporters of CISPA who also agree with Obama’s speech and executive order against Iran and Syria.]

Please, contact your Senators and tell them that

  1. The scope of CISPA must be narrowed
  2. CISPA requires checks-and-balances to prevent abuse of power

In the meantime, don’t look for me to post personal information on Facebook. If that’s not clear already, wait for an upcoming post.

CISPA
Created by: Paralegal.net

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