Despite Protests, Congress To Bring Back CISPA Exactly As It Was Last Year, While Obama Signs Exec Order

from the well-that's-unfortunate dept

Last week, we told you that CISPA was coming back, and it’s now been confirmed that it is coming back tomorrow and it will be identical to the extremely flawed bill that passed the House last year.

You can, of course, understand why the sponsors would bring back the identical bill. After all, it passed (fairly easily), even with tremendous protests. Many tech companies like the bill, because it puts no specific requirements on them, and also (more importantly) frees them from liability for sharing info on their users. But that’s the really problematic part. It’s disappointing that tech companies have not realized that standing up for their users’ privacy rights is a smart business decision on its own. Tragically, they’re taking the short term view on this one.

The privacy concerns about CISPA are incredibly serious. While the Senate took a very different approach with its Cybersecurity Act (which did not pass), at the very least, amendments to the Senate bill improved the privacy problems. One would hope that the backers of CISPA would recognize that this would be an opportunity to build a bigger tent, and follow through by matching the same privacy protections. Unfortunately they did not. While the Obama administration threatened to veto CISPA last year, in part due to the privacy concerns, I’m not sure anyone is confident that the administration is serious about that.

In fact, if the rumors are correct, President Obama will mention cybersecurity sometime in the State of the Union address tonight, and then will sign the executive order the administration has put together on Wednesday morning, to coincide with the reintroduction of CISPA in the afternoon. Basically, the use of the executive order is to put pressure on Congress to do something. There is still a hurdle from the Senate, since it supports a very different approach, but there’s about to be a very, very big push on cybersecurity.

Either way, it’s incredibly disappointing that CISPA’s supporters didn’t take the time to make some rather basic changes to protect privacy. Instead, they effectively use some broad language to more or less wipe out privacy protections on very broad terms, while doing nothing to keep any data shared from being further shared with other parts of the government. In other words, it’s a ticket for widespread surveillance of Americans (as if we don’t already have enough of that).

Fight For the Future has set up CISPAisBack.com to try to let folks in Congress know that bringing back the same extremely flawed bill is a mistake. That’s one way to contact your Representatives, though just calling their office directly would also be a good idea.

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Comments on “Despite Protests, Congress To Bring Back CISPA Exactly As It Was Last Year, While Obama Signs Exec Order”

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38 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

correct me if i am wrong, but didn’t i read somewhere that Bin Laden said that regardless of what happened to him and other terrorists, the reaction to terrorism by the USA and others would achieve everything the terrorists wanted and more. it seems like that is happening. the various governments are using any and all means to spy on their own people now, limiting what they can do and say, with whom, when and where. everyone in democratic countries are being locked down, censored and monitored just as those in countries like China. the governments have become more of a threat to their people than the terrorists ever were.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Calling Your Representative

They know. That’s why they made such a push a while back to pass a law allowing them to order the army to attack civilians.

Bluster, of course. Not that they wouldn’t want it to happen, but they likely wouldn’t be able to make it happen; armies tend to draw the line at mass murder of their own countrymen.

The real question is whether or not they’d be willing to launch a nuclear warhead at their own country.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Calling Your Representative

armies tend to draw the line at mass murder of their own countrymen

The Romans figured out how to work around this problem waaay back when. Their solution would work in the US, too. Leverage regional differences. Have troops from one area be the enforcers in a different area they tend to hate. Then they don’t feel like they’re murdering “countrymen,” but can rationalize it by thinking of them as “traitors” or villainous scum of some sort.

Mr. Applegate says:

Re: Calling Your Representative

Actually, if enough call they will listen. Unfortunately it has to be enough to basically make it impossible for their offices to function. In other words if they are DDOS’d they will have to rethink their strategy.

Looks like I have about 5000 minutes to burn on my account, seems like as good of a use as any.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Calling Your Representative

“Actually, if enough call they will listen. Unfortunately it has to be enough to basically make it impossible for their offices to function. In other words if they are DDOS’d they will have to rethink their strategy.”

Hey, Anonymous!! You listening? This is the kind of DDoS attack that might actually accomplish something!

If you guys can convince a bunch of script kiddies to run LOIC to take down a noncritical website about for a few hours, why not convince those same kiddies to flood the phone lines and inboxes in Washington D.C.? It might be more effective, and–at least for now–less likely to get people arrested.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

Re: Calling Your Representative

I doubt calling your representative or senator would do any good. You need to hire a lobbyist to get them to listen.

Not true. If enough people do call — and, honestly, “enough” really is not that much, it can actually make a difference. Enough people calling will scare away nearly every politician from lobbyists. The problem is that, most times, no one at all calls.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

So this seems to be the key premise:

The
legislation requires the Director of National Intelligence to establish procedures for the
sharing of this information with properly certified entities to help protect U.S. national
security while protecting information from unauthorized disclosure.

My own issue is twofold:
1) There is no law forcing government to classify data one way or another.
2) There is no law prohibiting government sharing information with the public or “the private sector”.

Why do we need legislation.. why do we need to change the law of the land to accomplish these goals?

I know, the US government sure acts like its hands are tied when it comes to sharing information. However the way to transparency is blocked only by common practice (and, IMO, greedy, power-drunk idiots who think the world of themselves and have no sense of responsibility to the public which they purportedly serve beyond keeping an angry mob from dragging them out of bed after a DC humdinger).

CISPA is nothing more than a golden egg of private information for the government, and a get-out-of-jail free card for “the private sector”.

Tehrm (profile) says:

My people. . .

This highlights one of the problems in a representative democracy. An elected official can only accurately represent those with whom he or she has meaningful contact. Meaningful contact results in transformative personal knowledge (experience or verisimilitude) as concerns overlap, mesh, and begin to create new perceptions of reality.

Constant exposure to various individuals with a concerted worldview results in a congressperson who cannot accurately represent the constituents of his or her district or state.

In a sense, we vote not for whom we wish to represent us, but for whom we wish to bear the Faustian temptations of monied lobbyists.

art guerrilla (profile) says:

Re: My people. . .

yes and no…
(mostly no)

1. kongresskritters should be running on an actual platform and issues such that the voters elect a person whose overall views comport with ours…

(of course, they don’t: they spout WHATEVER bullshit they think will appeal to the majority of donors/voters; NOT promulgate their actual views and intended actions which we can agree or disagree with… no, better to spout some populist-sounding mush which they can’t be held to…)

2. kongresskritters should have actually given some serious thought and reflection to the issues/laws they are voting on, and actually based their votes on what amounts to the greatest good for the greatest number…

(of course, they don’t: WHICHEVER PAC/lobbyist/korporado and/or party whip is waving the most money in front of them gets the most attention and/or votes… ain’t that the way it is supposed to work ? ? ? snicker )

3. kongresskritters should be a little bit more restrained and wise than us mere serfs: if ‘everybody’ is screaming to kill poor brown people somewhere, our kongresskritters should be our moral conscience when our anger and outrage outstrips our intelligence and tell us to calm the fuck down…

(of course, they don’t: they pander to the WORST of our instincts, and LEAD the immoral calls for murder and mayhem… sigh our ‘superiors’…)

in short, the system is broken and corrupted sociopaths have the run of the place; what few ‘honest’ politicians that remain are powerless against a rigged system…

art guerrilla
aka ann archy
eof

Anonymous Coward says:

Many tech companies like the bill, because it puts no specific requirements on them, and also (more importantly) frees them from liability for sharing info on their users. But that’s the really problematic part. It’s disappointing that tech companies have not realized that standing up for their users’ privacy rights is a smart business decision on its own.

I’ve said it a million times, Google doesn’t give a flying fuck about you. Maybe it’s time to stop riding their nuts.

Tragically, they’re taking the short term view on this one.

They are most certainly taking the long view. Google has long passed the point in their monopolistic venture to have to give a shit about customers. And given Google’s views on privacy, I’m astonished that you think they’d say a word. It’s not like they’ve respected people’s privacy in the past.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

“I’ve said it a million times, Google doesn’t give a flying fuck about you. Maybe it’s time to stop riding their nuts.”

It amazes me that even when I am on the opposite side of an issue from Google, you use it to suggest that I’m somehow representing them. Incredible.

Sorry, I wasn’t picking you out of the crowd (though it probably seemed that way given your authorship> but Google gets far too much slack and too little scrutiny. The truth is that people seem to think Google’s periodic siding with them on an issue is a sign of enlightenment. It’s not, Google does what is best for Google.

shane (profile) says:

Hehe "Taking the short view, tragically"

It tends to make me giggle when folks pretend that corporations have any interest at all in providing for customers. It has been the practice of corporations almost from their inception to work hand in glove with government, and the ultimate aim is to force people by law to use the services of large corporations. For this benefit, they are always more than willing to sacrifice the interests of their customers, since they are only pawns to begin with.

They are, without a doubt, taking the long term view. The problem is that far too few people realize that this game is fixed the way it is on purpose.

Corporate agents move to government, and government officials move to corporate positions. This is not a secret. Why do folks keep acting shocked that they work hand in glove together for the same purposes. Do you imagine it is a major bummer being wealthy beyond all reason?

Of course they agree to terms they themselves are in on creating.

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