Legal Issues

by Mike Masnick

Filed Under:
cispa, cybersecurity

Can CISPA Be Fixed?

from the perhaps-not dept

We've been arguing for quite some time now that we'd like to see the actual evidence for why a "cybersecurity" bill is actually needed. We've heard fearmongering and warnings of planes falling from the skies, but no evidence that there's a real problem here -- or, if there is a problem, that it needs a legislative solution. And yet, still, CISPA moves forward. Of course, while we still believe that some amendments could fix some of the more egregious problems with CISPA, there is still the big question of whether or not it's needed at all. Larry Downes has taken on the question of whether or not CISPA can be fixed and has decided that it cannot be, and that it represents a real threat to some key elements of the internet ecosystem. He lists out some key rules for policy makers (and goes into great detail on each, so click through):
  • Don’t legislate technology using definitions that are either too specific or too general
  • Don’t legislate technology until you can articulate concrete and calculable harms
  • Don’t encourage or require information sharing with the government unless it’s unavoidable
All of this seems quite reasonable... which is why it's an uphill battle to get people to follow through on it.

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  1. identicon
    Jose_X, 26 Apr 2012 @ 12:09pm


    I'm not arguing for more spying, but are people really looking at this from the point of view of a group of people (federal government leadership of the US) who feel personally vulnerable to death plots on a daily basis and who since 911 no longer feel this threat is theoretical?

    Besides that, isn't it likely our military leaders who protect them and also see their own lives vulnerable are also pressing on legislators (and we know it's not easy for them to say not to these guys)?

    To a lesser extent, a lot of major business leaders and wealthy individuals likely are pressing as well since they probably see major financial losses at risk (if not their own necks).

    This personal threat aside, how can anyone argue point blank that preserving the state of order at the federal level is not in the best interests of individual Internet users? Do people really think the Internet will keep humming along without fights and blackouts if the federal government takes a brutal hit?

    Again, this is not to argue for any specific proposal in this or any bill, but the comments sometimes suggest people aren't recognizing what can reasonably be an elevated state of fear in the collective mind of DC. Not only are some of their concerns legitimate, but if you don't understand where they are coming from, you will have a harder time being heard clearly. [I'm fairly sure these major groups opposing the bill have thought about this, and that should be one reason why they might be willing to accept an imperfect bill.]

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