Let Your Senator Know Right Now That You Are Watching If They'll Vote To Protect Privacy

from the speak-up dept

On Friday, we mentioned that this week is the week in which the Senate will wrangle over the new Cybersecurity bill. The current bill has some privacy safeguards, but not nearly enough. Senators Al Franken and Rand Paul have put together an amendment to strengthen the privacy safeguards even more — and over the weekend, Senator Chuck Schumer agreed to co-sponsor the Franken/Paul amendment after talking to various folks in the tech industry and the civil liberties community. That adds more weight to the amendment. Unfortunately, Senators John McCain and Kay Bailey Huchison and a few others, who have been carrying water for the NSA throughout this fight, are looking to move the bill very far in the other direction, wiping out tons of privacy protections. It’s really shameful.

Either way, this is the week to let your Senator know how you feel about all of this (and if you’re a constituent of McCain or Huchison, please ask why they’re so against protecting the privacy of the American public). The American Library Association has kindly set up a simple one-click tool to call your Senator and let them know how you feel.

The EFF has a page with some more info as well, noting that it’s basically too late to email your Senators, so please call. If you want some more info, check out Fred Wilson’s analysis of the situation, which matches almost exactly with mine. We still have not been given a compelling reason why any such legislation is needed. We keep hearing scare stories about mushroom clouds and planes falling from the sky if information can’t be shared. But… what no one has done yet is explain which existing regulations block the necessary sharing of information. If they did that, we could look at fixing those laws. Instead, we’re just told scare stories and given a massive 211-page bill that wipes out all sorts of previous laws, and adds all sorts of other things to the law. Given the length of the bill, it’s quite likely there are some awful “easter eggs” in there that we’ll only discover years down the road.

That said, if the bill is going to pass, it would be much better if it had very strong privacy protections in it, and the Franken/Paul amendment go a long way towards putting such protections in. The McCain/Huchison proposal do the opposite, and basically seek to take away privacy protections, while giving the NSA much more ability to access your data. Don’t let the Senate trample your privacy rights. Go ahead and use the ALA’s tool to contact your Senator today.

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Comments on “Let Your Senator Know Right Now That You Are Watching If They'll Vote To Protect Privacy”

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Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“This message brought to you by TechdirtPAC – not a political thing, because Mike doesn’t do that sort of thing.”

Exactly. It’s impossible to have a call for political involvement for anything other than horrifically nefarious reasons that likely include either the Illuminati or puppy-punching.


:Lobo Santo (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 !?

And then later, (like all political parties… ) we can stop doing the thing from which we took our name!

It’ll be perfect, in 20 years time we’ll have the P3 party (punchers, for short) who are dedicated to liberty and radical governmental transparency, personal rights and personal responsibility–and all without puppies or punching.

I like this plan.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

“Exactly. It’s impossible to have a call for political involvement for anything other than horrifically nefarious reasons that likely include either the Illuminati or puppy-punching. “

There is a line (somewhere back behind Mike) that was crossed on this stuff. It’s no longer “this is bad” and has moved to “Call your congressman”. It’s no longer saying “I think this is wrong” and now it’s “do this, sheep!”.

It’s sad, really.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

So, getting informed on this and why it is bad for everyone (Including trolls.) is a bad thing? I appreciate knowing what the link is to how to reach my representative and the correct talking point are.

No one is making me do this. I happen to agree with this course of action and am glad that someone told me about it.

I take it that you think this is bad and are unhappy to find out about it?

Suzanne Lainson (profile) says:

Aren't there at least two issues here?

Seems like we have two parts to privacy:

1. Companies collecting huge amounts of data on people.
2. Governments asking for access to that data.

Seems like the companies want to continue to collect as much data as possible on their users. They just don’t want to have to turn it over to anyone else unless they get paid handsomely for it.

I want to limit what companies know about me, so I’m all for privacy laws, but I want the process to start in the private sector first. Don’t collect info about me, and if you won’t do it voluntarily, I’ll put as many roadblocks in your path as I can. The more you follow me on the Internet, the less I use it.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Aren't there at least two issues here?

Some of us lowly bees in certain industries feel quite insecure with this government talk around security which will inevidably end in regulatory requirements…

Others who have dealt with regulations on ‘PI’ (personal information, or personally identifiable information) find this type of legislation schizophrenic coming from the same people.

If it looks, feels and smells like [government agency redacted], its [government agency redacted].

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Aren't there at least two issues here?

You missed the little fun part where 3rd party companies don’t have the same laws stopping them gathering data the Government has stopping them sometimes.
So its easier to bypass the law by paying the 3rd party campaign contributor a healthy fee to get the data. Which most often is incorrect – fun side note I keep getting ads for electric wheelchairs and diabetes testing gear.
I’m still walking and not diabetic, but some data mining into my meatspace identity went completely sideways it seems. That or they linked 2 different people with similar names into 1 person. This is the high quality data they sell…

sgt_doom (profile) says:

Re: Re: Aren't there at least two issues here?

Thank you.

And one of the reasons they privatized the American intelligence establishment is that FOIA laws don’t apply to the private sector (although they way Janet Napolitano of DHS sits on thousands of FOIA requests, and now the Pentagon, thanks to the 2006 NDAA legislation is exempt from them — which encompasses the majority of intel agencies, as well, so by extension, NSA, DIA, DSS, etc. are all exempt) — FOIA hardly covers anything anymore.

Corporate fascist police state — we welcome you!

Suzanne Lainson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Aren't there at least two issues here?

Yes, I am highly skeptical about data-collecting companies lobbying on privacy issues. I suspect they just want to make sure they can continue to collect whatever data they want without the government bothering them. I don’t think for a minute that Facebook and Google are interested in giving users more privacy protection. Where would their businesses be if they couldn’t collect data about us and make it available to other businesses?

artp (profile) says:

They have the process backwards

Up until now, the process was that some industry needed regulation because it was causing potential and present harm to the public. The government would tell the industry that they needed to get their act together. Then they would tell them again. Then they would step in and regulate that industry because obviously they are incapable of doing it themselves. An excellent example is the pharmaceutical industry, whose misbehavior (past and present) caused the creation of the Food and Drug Administration. Don’t let that get in the way of their patents, though. We would all die of bubonic plague if it weren’t for them.

Using this process, we have things like the ASME Boiler Code, the standard Building Code, the National Electrical Code, the National Fire Protection Association, the American Water Society, Instrument Society of America and many others. There is also the NIST – National Institute of Standards and Technology – to help guide the process along, and to provide parallel documentation of some standards. NIST is a government agency.

In this case, we have the government regulating the public because the industry can’t get its act together. Someone needs to go back to Civics 101 and figure out how government (of, by and for the people) is supposed to work. I think they have their wires crossed somewhere where the sun don’t shine!

Anonymous Coward says:

Some videos that does a fair job of explaining our concerns but not limited to, web tracking and phone tracking

Gary Kovacs: Tracking the trackers


Mentions a Firefox addon that gives a real time representation on cookies being stoed on you computer, bot sites you’ve visited and those you haven’t

Malte Spitz: Your phone company is watching


A video that explains a very possible scenario, where the berlin wall may never have been brought down, if the current technology was available at that time

Ninja (profile) says:

Sick. And that’s the McCain that was running for the Presidency a while back. So basically Americans had Obama (that has proven to be all talks and very little action) and McCain (that is proving to be as bad or worse than Bush). Now you have Obama (who will keep being all talks, little action and a nice corporate puppet) and Romney (who seems to be better than McCain but after all we can’t be sure how much he’s aligned to the corporations).

I feel sorry for you. Not that my situation is much better. But you have my feelings.

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