Somewhere Everywhere, Big Brother Is Smiling: Congress Sells Your Privacy For A Cool $84 Million

from the $84M-isn't-money;-it's-a-motive-with-a-universal-adapter dept

In case you were wondering why so many Democrats switched sides during the most recent CISPA vote, the answer is exactly what you think it is: $$$. And lots of it. Last year’s CISPA vote only managed to secure 40 Democrat supporters. This time around, the number leapt to 92.

[A] new coalition of special interests, which include America’s two largest cellular service providers AT&T, Inc. and Verizon Wireless — jointly owned by Verizon Communications Inc. and Vodafone Group Plc. — as well as two of the nation’s largest software firms Microsoft Corp. and Intel Corp., came together to create a similar data grab bill (Microsoft has since renounced its support). Security firms like Symantec Corp. also backed the bill.

Pushing the bill through was $84M USD in funding from special interest backers.

$84 million is change-of-heart money, although one imagines those contributing checked and double-checked their “sponsored” representatives to make sure they were all on the same page. As DailyTech points out, nearly $86 million went into the SOPA push and most of that turned out to be wasted money.

Last Monday, two hundred IBM executives visited the White House to make a last minute push for CISPA. Whatever they said or did must have been very persuasive. By the end of the day, 36 new sponsors had signed on to the bill, up from a very lonely two previous to IBM’s visit. Unsurprisingly, financial motivation was involved, according to numbers gathered by Maplight.

New co-sponsors have received 38 times as much money ($7,626,081) from interests supporting CISPA than from interests opposing ($200,362).

Members of the House in total have received 16 times as much money ($67,665,694) from interests supporting CISPA than from interests opposing ($4,164,596).

Now, it’s up to Senate to come up with some sort of cyber-security bill that has a chance to get passed and dodge a Presidential veto. Fortunately, there’s no clear favorite at the moment (although Lieberman’s bill seems to have the President’s blessing) and with the limited number of voters, the Senate is much more prone to be gridlocked by partisan politics. Of course, a daylong visit by a few lobbyists could win over just enough hearts and minds to be dangerous. In the meantime, it would probably do these senators a world of good to hear from their constituents, if only to remind them that there are plenty of actual people out there who have to live with the consequences of bad legislation.

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Comments on “Somewhere Everywhere, Big Brother Is Smiling: Congress Sells Your Privacy For A Cool $84 Million”

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65 Comments
Akari Mizunashi (profile) says:

For sale: The United States of America

To remit payment, please contact any local Senator in the US Government. Upon receipt of payment, anything you want shall be granted, regardless of the rights of the people.

Three simple words: “We The People”, completely ignored by the government.

I will probably live long enough to see this country enter another revolution, if this keeps up.

tqk says:

Re: Re: Re:

There won’t be enough interested people. They’ll be too busy watching American Idol …

The Continental Army was never more than a tiny fraction of the population of the Thirteen Colonies, yet they won against a fairly committed superpower of the age which controlled vast resources just North of them in Canada. I’ve always thought it amazing that the Brits managed to lose that fight.

Eric says:

Re: Re: Re:

I’m more worried that most people won’t take action, because they believe everyone else is too busy watching American Idol and Fox News to give a damn.

I’m afraid that most people ARE interested, but are apathetic because they believe they are surrounded by fools. I’m worried this is the greater lie being delivered.

If you’re awake to what’s going on, DO SOMETHING. We all need to stop being so passive and start taking action to affect our futures.

out_of_the_blue says:

Use Google for some news you may have missed:

“Reddit Cofounder Calls on Google’s Larry Page to drop support CISPA– the only way we can beat CISPA at this point is to persuade Google to …”

http://www.reddit.com/r/technology/comments/1cqwe3/reddit_cofounder_calls_on_googles_larry_page_to/

——–

http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2013/04/reddit-opposes-cispa/

————–

Google, Apple Lead Massive List of Companies Supporting CISPA

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/13/04/12/1759237/google-apple-lead-massive-list-of-companies-supporting-cispa

—————

BUT YET AGAIN, no mention of Google’s support for CISPA here at Techdirt. Why is that?

Karl (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Use Google for some news you may have missed:

Ranting? I only see a remark wondering why Masnick’s paymasters support of the bill has gone unmentioned.

1. Google is not “Masnick’s paymasters.” Other than AdSense (which Techdirt doesn’t use anymore AFAIK), Google has never paid Techdirt or Mike one dime.

2. Mike wrote about tech companies’ support of CISPA, calling it “shameful:”
http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130411/15571022683/shameful-tech-companies-fighting-against-necessary-cfaa-reform-cispa-fixes.shtml

But you’re right, “rant” is the wrong word. I would call it a “smear campaign,” but that implies that being associated with Google is a “smear,” which in itself is ludicrous. So, what it is, in reality, is a wingnut conspiracy theory.

Anonymous Coward says:

‘Now, it’s up to Senate to come up with some sort of cyber-security bill that has a chance to get passed and dodge a Presidential veto.’

strange how there is no mention whatsoever of the trying to please those they are supposed to represent, isn’t it? why oh why is there virtually no change each year to who gets voted into the position of Senator? surely there must be enough out there that can actually do what they are supposed to and not be more concerned with just increasing their bank balance? how about putting the Senators in place atm under surveillance to see how they like it?

Tom (profile) says:

Pragmatic for legal reasons for big tech companies

Many of the big tech companies backing the bill have been sold on it as it is a legal “get out of jail free” card for any and all abuses of personal information that might otherwise be actionable.

I would be surprised if there was even one general counsel at any tech company likely to be affected by CISPA recommending against the bill.

Suzanne Lainson (profile) says:

Re: Pragmatic for legal reasons for big tech companies

Many of the big tech companies backing the bill have been sold on it as it is a legal “get out of jail free” card for any and all abuses of personal information that might otherwise be actionable.

I would be surprised if there was even one general counsel at any tech company likely to be affected by CISPA recommending against the bill.

This is my perception of what goes on between tech and DC. I don’t think DC does anything related to security that isn’t approved of by private enterprise. They work too closely together to separate it out. I think the “government is bad” campaign is primarily a way to divert people’s attention from just how much companies are doing to eliminate personal privacy.

anonymouse says:

Re: CISPA BAD

Like any good politician Obama will see what he can get out of it and then decide if it should be vetoed. I wonder when the American population is going to wake up to what is going on around them. It is not like the purchase of lawmakers is being hidden in any way, it is all there out in the open for everyone to see.

Suzanne Lainson (profile) says:

Data is being collected and sold

We could completely remove government and our privacy would be gone anyway. At some point government will just hand security over the private contractors and there won’t be any reason for Congress to debate all of this.

Between Google monitoring our email, wiring the country so it knows what we get via broadband, glasses that will allow people to match what they see with databases of info on the people around them, cross referencing how we spend our money with all the other details in its databases, tracking us and recording all the places we go, there really isn’t any privacy.

anonymouse says:

Result...

Anonymise your online activity, create fake paypal accounts and fake amazon accounts if you have to. Never give out your real details to any online organization. Even if it is simply spelling your surname wrong or the last digit of any numbers you give them.Like dob and drivers licence number.
If anything keep a folder with all your fake details in locked with a decent piece of software and never ever give the password to anyone.

Suzanne Lainson (profile) says:

Re: Result...

Anonymise your online activity, create fake paypal accounts and fake amazon accounts if you have to. Never give out your real details to any online organization. Even if it is simply spelling your surname wrong or the last digit of any numbers you give them.Like dob and drivers licence number.
If anything keep a folder with all your fake details in locked with a decent piece of software and never ever give the password to anyone.

A lot can be gleaned from your phone, even if it is turned off. And the people around you can be monitoring you, too. Even if they don’t identify you, technology can do the job for them. If you want to function in modern society, you are leaving a traceable trail.

Thomas (profile) says:

All politicians

are open to bribery, whether they are Democrats or Republicans. It’s interesting to see them put out an actual price tag on bribes though. Bribery is endemic in our government, whether it’s Congress, the White House, the FTC, the DOJ, the SCOTUS, or the FCC. Special interest groups simply buy laws. We have the worst government money can buy.

Suzanne Lainson (profile) says:

Re: All politicians

are open to bribery, whether they are Democrats or Republicans. It’s interesting to see them put out an actual price tag on bribes though. Bribery is endemic in our government, whether it’s Congress, the White House, the FTC, the DOJ, the SCOTUS, or the FCC. Special interest groups simply buy laws. We have the worst government money can buy.

I think it is worth clarifying that this bribery often comes in the form of lobbying and campaign financing. I’d like to see those issues dealt with.

Suzanne Lainson (profile) says:

Why I think singling out government is misplaced concern

Karl Rove, Koch brothers lead charge to control Republican data – Kenneth P. Vogel and Maggie Haberman – POLITICO.com: “On its website, i360 boasts of maintaining a constantly updated database of over 187 million active voters and over 211 million consumers that ‘provides hundreds of data points on every American adult that is currently or potentially politically active.’?

competent_reader says:

You massively over counted

The $84 million is all contributions from those contributors to those Congressmen, not just those contributions related to CISPA. Most of those contributors are interested in dozens or hundreds of bills besides CISPA, and most of that $84 million would be for pushing their positions on those other bills.

Crazy man says:

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As I dug a deeper review of past, I found some pretty scary things. Like for instance that their writers are almost all Pakistani (over 30% of their daily web traffic comes from the country) and use FAKE AMERICAN NAMES to pretend they are native English speakers. Isn?t it time this bullshit be investigated? I don?t care what you think about paper writing services (whether you believe they are ethical or not) but at least take down the companies that are pure scams like
Click on this link and wow yourself:

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That?s enough. Rant?s over. Fuck you,

Sincerely,
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Reviewed by Sean Evans on March 25,2013 ? Rating: 1.0
Miserable experience.They ripped me off for $600 for a dissertation and refuse to give me my money back.?
2 THOUGHTS ON
Taylor on June 4, 2013 at 10:52 PM said:
You are right. I have been debating with them for at least a month now, trying to get my refunds, it?s because the writer can?t even write shit or follow the prompt. Claimed to be ?professional? yeah right. They also claimed that they refunded my money already by just clearing out my balance. However, the email I received from money bookers still saying I was charged on that date. They lied & keep on saying ?your refunds should be in 4-6.? i waited & after 2 weeks, still nothing. I keep on checking back even though they closed my inquiry many times. I mean, I only uploaded $55 for the balance, but I didn?t use it. The money isn?t that a big deal, it?s just the writers & their service is poorly done. I cancelled the writer because 1. Passed deadline 2. The paper was off topic, completely vague, lacks development & much more. 3. way different from U.S writing style 4. Busy schedule & I just want to try how this service work. Personally, i definitely to not recommend this service.

Reply ↓
admin on June 20, 2013 at 9:42 PM said:
Thanks for your feedback, I?m glad to see that I?m not the only one.

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