Insanity: CISPA Just Got Way Worse, And Then Passed On Rushed Vote

from the this-is-crazy dept

Update: Several people have asserted that Quayle's amendment actually made CISPA better, not worse. I've now posted my thoughts on that.

Up until this afternoon, the final vote on CISPA was supposed to be tomorrow. Then, abruptly, it was moved up today—and the House voted in favor of its passage with a vote of 248-168. But that's not even the worst part.

The vote followed the debate on amendments, several of which were passed. Among them was an absolutely terrible change (pdf and embedded below—scroll to amendment #6) to the definition of what the government can do with shared information, put forth by Rep. Quayle. Astonishingly, it was described as limiting the government's power, even though it in fact expands it by adding more items to the list of acceptable purposes for which shared information can be used. Even more astonishingly, it passed with a near-unanimous vote. The CISPA that was just approved by the House is much worse than the CISPA being discussed as recently as this morning.

Previously, CISPA allowed the government to use information for "cybersecurity" or "national security" purposes. Those purposes have not been limited or removed. Instead, three more valid uses have been added: investigation and prosecution of cybersecurity crime, protection of individuals, and protection of children. Cybersecurity crime is defined as any crime involving network disruption or hacking, plus any violation of the CFAA.

Basically this means CISPA can no longer be called a cybersecurity bill at all. The government would be able to search information it collects under CISPA for the purposes of investigating American citizens with complete immunity from all privacy protections as long as they can claim someone committed a "cybersecurity crime". Basically it says the 4th Amendment does not apply online, at all. Moreover, the government could do whatever it wants with the data as long as it can claim that someone was in danger of bodily harm, or that children were somehow threatened—again, notwithstanding absolutely any other law that would normally limit the government's power.

Somehow, incredibly, this was described as limiting CISPA, but it accomplishes the exact opposite. This is very, very bad.

There were some good amendments adopted too—clarifying some definitions, including the fact that merely violating a TOS does not constitute unauthorized network access—but frankly none of them matter in the light of this change. CISPA is now a completely unsupportable bill that rewrites (and effectively eliminates) all privacy laws for any situation that involves a computer. Far from the defense against malevolent foreign entities that the bill was described as by its authors, it is now an explicit attack on the freedoms of every American.

Filed Under: cispa, congress, cybersecurity


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  1. identicon
    CISPA equals FRAUD, 27 Apr 2012 @ 7:48pm

    THE WORLD OF CYBER MAKE BELIEVE - TO SUPPORT U.S. GOV. CONTROL

    Dear Congressman Mike Rogers,

    What if I use an encrypted email service?
    What if a posts some related FOIA logs requests on a doc website?
    What if I post my political views on Youtube?

    Does this make me a candidate for any website to get the Green Light and send all my private E*TRADE, emails, facebook accounts to strangers to enter in an database (like N-DEx network) for thousands of more strangers to have access to, blackmail me with, commit fraud, identity theft, get privileges to issue an un-related court summons and so on, from the same database you are in-competent to say cannot be safeguard from cyber-attacks, whatever the hell that means?

    You have not even given the american people one ACTUAL ATTACK SITUATION or any threat you are claiming. Is there a REAL attack event OR NOT (?) to whatever the hell your broad CISPA bill means, other than deem anybody a threat for their private data to be made open? Are you saying Y2K was hacked to blow-up some generators? Are you saying the Aztec calendar is ready to expire could cause a cyber-attack.

    Put some real FACT in your big mouth, instead of the B.S. CYBER HOCUS POCUS coming out of it. Your bill CISPA violates the BILL OF RIGHTS! Did you go to school? People DIED for the BILL OF RIGHTS for all of us to have in the WAR OF INDEPENDENCE. Then you say “people cannot just say whatever they what on the internet”? Oh, I get it, you don't like "freedom of speech" stopping government from being corrupt and for the corporate business, so you can't get your BIG pay-off!

    I can only wish you can get you education when you’re sleeping and having a night mirror, fighting that war of independence in the middle of a battlefield, with a knife in your chest, to only wake up to meet the very people you KILLED with the CISPA bill in your hand.

    I put it to you this way again Mr. Rogers Show, if this bill passes, I can guarantee you will not need to worry about CYBER THREATS in your WORLD OF MAKE BELIEVE, because you will have millions of Americans shouting "MURRDERER" the your WORLD OF REALITY and for the rest of your life, as long as I’m around.

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