CISPA Authors Launch Twitter Account To Preach False Merits Of The Bill
from the yeah,-that'll-change-everything dept
Still desperate to prove that they are in touch with the online community, the House Intelligence Committee has launched a new Twitter account apparently dedicated to talking about how totally awesome CISPA is. They haven’t been at it for very long, but they’ve already blessed the hashtags #CISPA and #cyber (they really love that word, don’t they?) with several disingenuous tweets full of misinformation and flat-out inaccuracies:
Firstly, how does a federal law that creates an internet security exemption to every other existing law represent keeping the “federal govt’s hands off the Internet”? The entire point of CISPA is to give every federal agency that already has its hands on the internet more information and power. Similarly, while the bill itself does not have any provisions relating to blocking website access, it creates clear provisions for companies to give data to Homeland Security—the people who already seize websites.
Strong privacy protections? CISPA includes virtually no privacy protections, beyond a call for annual recommendations from the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board. Meanwhile, it eliminates existing privacy protections, because as soon as a company deems its data “cyber threat information”, it can turn it over to the government without worrying about any other laws. As for how CISPA “strictly limits” what the government can do with the data, that depends on your definition of “strictly”—and, of course, whether you’re honest about what the bill says, which the House Intelligence Committee is not:
Maybe they’ll blame Twitter’s character limit, but they left out a very important part there. Information can only be shared with the government if it is related to cybersecurity, but it can be used by the government for the purposes of cybersecurity or national security. That’s a much, much broader field, and the cybersecurity heading is already pretty wide open, when you remember how it’s defined in CISPA—as anything relating to protecting a network from:
‘(A) efforts to degrade, disrupt, or destroy such system or network; or
‘(B) theft or misappropriation of private or government information, intellectual property, or personally identifiable information.
Moreover, there are no limitations on how long the government can keep the data, or on how often they can come back and search it for whatever they want—as long as they can justify the search as either cybersecurity or national security. That’s not what most people call “strict”.
Resistance to CISPA is growing, and more flimsy misinformation isn’t going to change anything just because the committee puts it on Twitter. We already wrote about how astonishing it is that Congress expected no resistance to the bill, and now it seems like they’re finally waking up to the fact that they were wrong—but, as usual, they have no idea how to respond.