IBM Sends 200 Execs To Capitol Hill To Demand The Right To Send Your Private Info To The NSA

from the nice-one,-guys dept

We’ve talked about various tech companies supporting CISPA, which is really shameful and short-sighted. Yes, it protects them from liability if they trample all over your privacy and provide your private info to the government — which is why they support it. But if they were truly customer focused companies, they would know that violating your privacy is no way to build a loyal customer base. And, apparently, the right to violate your privacy and hand that info to the government is so important to IBM that it has sent 200 executives to Capital Hill today to lobby in favor of passing CISPA. CISPA is expected to go to a floor vote in the House either this Wednesday or Thursday.

Nearly 200 senior IBM executives are flying into Washington to press for the passage of a controversial cybersecurity bill that will come up for a vote in the House this week.

The IBM executives will pound the pavement on Capitol Hill Monday and Tuesday, holding nearly 300 meetings with lawmakers and staff. Over the course of those two days, their mission is to convince lawmakers to back a bill that’s intended to make it easier for industry and government to share information about cyber threats with each other in real time.

What they still can’t explain is what laws currently get in the way of this information sharing? We’ve been asking for years and no one has answered. Everyone agrees that information sharing around an attack can be useful in stopping it, but no one has explained why that information sharing (a) requires a new law or (b) can’t be done without wiping out all basic privacy protections for personal info currently provided under existing law.

Even more ridiculous is that IBM flat out admits that they want to be able to send your info to the NSA. We’ve pointed out for a while that one of the major concerns with CISPA is that the NSA — a military agency — would get access to your info, despite the general prohibition on spying on Americans. Of course, the NSA has twisted that mandate ridiculously, such that it believes it can now spy on anything so long as they claim it may help them in finding a foreign threat. Technically, the law is about the “target” of the information, and the NSA (and potentially the secret ruling from the FISA Court) has interpreted this to mean that as long as the target of the investigation is as foreign threat, then the NSA can snoop through anything in pursuit of that target.

Of course, most folks have been trying to play down the fact that the NSA would get the info. But not IBM. Nope, they’re thrilled to send your private info right to the NSA:

[IBM VP of government affairs Chris] Padilla, however, says companies need to be able to share threat data directly with the NSA “because that’s where the expertise is.”

“It really is a simple matter. The expertise in the U.S. government on cybersecurity largely rests in one place, and that’s the National Security Agency,” he said. “They tend to know the most, the soonest about cyber threats and I think, frankly, there is a certain amount of feeling in the business community that you should be able to work directly and share information directly with the agency that has the most expertise.”

While the NSA does have some knowledge on cybersecurity, it’s an exaggeration to suggest that they have “the expertise” on the subject. It also does nothing to explain why your private info should be included.

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Companies: ibm

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Comments on “IBM Sends 200 Execs To Capitol Hill To Demand The Right To Send Your Private Info To The NSA”

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John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: And WHERE would they get data from? Google and Facebook.

You had to register your MAC with your ISP??? That’s one stupid ISP. I can’t think of a single reason why that information would be useful to them.

What happens when someone visits your house? Does the internet not work for them until they register their MAC as well? What about if you replace the computer or network adapter?

Josh in CharlotteNC (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Yep, that’s it.

IBM has long had a cozy relationship with the NSA. The NSA has required a lot of computing power for making and breaking codes ever since it was formed after WW2. IBM has been a key contractor to provide a lot of it.

This is obviously an issue of money – IBM wants a contract, and their buddies at the NSA want the data. Match made for a law that would let the NSA send a juicy contract to IBM to gather, collate, data mine, and then supply it all back to the NSA. IBM spends a few million lobbying, gets back many millions in government contracts. Military-industrial complex, I think I remember something about that.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: today's news

I’m half-expecting the news to say that this was ” a web-orgnaised attack by Anonymous to derail the discussion and commit acts of dyberterrorism.”

…I feel like I’ve donned a tinfoil hat that won’t come off. that’ is not how a government should come across.


Anonymous Coward says:

Does it really take 100 tools to open a pork barrel?

While the NSA does have some knowledge on cybersecurity, it’s an exaggeration to suggest that they have “the expertise” on the subject.

Very nicely put, but let me fix that for your for accuracy:

While the NSA does claim some rudimentary knowledge on cybersecurity, it’s an abject fantasy to suggest that they have “any clue” on the subject of cyber defense.

There is nothing in CISPA that will unhack an iDevice, on the contrary it will be easier to find.

There is nothing in CISPA that will stop anyone’s personal data and weekend photos spilling onto the Time’s Square marquee.

There is nothing in CISPA that will speed any defensive action, save for the speed with which courts could dismiss identity theft claims from the victims, given an industry-government alliance.

Your information has value on the open market.

Companies give away information sucking hardware and services in order to profit from that information. (See Google, Amazon, etc. etc.)

Your government wants a cut.

Enter CISPA.

Androgynous Cowherd says:

Re: Re:

Does it really take 100 tools to open a pork barrel?


And they’re $1000/hr tools they’re sending, too. That pilgrimage to the hill is going to cost them a megabuck or more.

Which makes me suspect they have something big at stakes. A contract with the NSA, perhaps. Or maybe something worse.

For example, what if their Thinkpad drive encryption has had a backdoor all these years, and the NSA has the skeleton keys? All those border laptop searches where the laptop is sent somewhere that takes a long time to reach and return from …

Maybe they’re afraid of possible lawsuits, and would really love a change of the law that removed their liability.

Of course, their liability is, in that event, currently blackmail leverage the government has on them, so they would really need to beg to be let off the hook on that, and maybe promise some really big campaign donations to key people.

special-interesting (profile) says:

(Most of this is an echo of previous posts. A good read!)

If any corporation sends 200 execs to any event it will be for profit. There is no other reason thats explainable. IBM seems to be acting as an, or in behalf of a, special interest group for reasons that can only be for corporate gain. Please argue with me, tell me am wrong.

These people profit on providing software solutions that harvest data. Who cares, on the level of corporate profit, for constitutional privacy concerns. What forced costly updates to IBM systems would be required to satisfy new government rules for data taking.

Privacy? Personal life and security? Who cares? Not IBM that seems for sure.

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