Fearmongering Around 'Cyber' Threats Puts Internet Openness At Risk
from the it's-a-problem dept
Plenty of people have argued that SOPA was quite different from CISPA, because SOPA did attack fundamental principles of the internet, while CISPA was just an attack on privacy. So it's interesting to see Crawford's opinion suggesting that CISPA, and other bills like it, also put some aspects of the traditional internet at risk, though in a more indirect manner.
The dangers of this digital special-ops saber-rattling are breathtaking. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been valiantly advocating for Internet freedom, strategic multilateralism, engagement and “smart power” around the world. The White House has said its objective is to work with other nations to “encourage responsible behavior and oppose those who would seek to disrupt networks and systems.”
Purveyors of cyberfear are going in the opposite direction. They are not interested in engaging with other countries to come up with codes of online conduct or to translate the Geneva Conventions for cyberspace -- so as to avoid collateral damage and protect hospitals, electrical grids, and so on. They want to be able to change ones to zeros on servers around the globe, whatever that means for speech and commerce at home and worldwide.
Given the undeniable benefits that the open global Internet has brought to the U.S., building moats around our networks and subjecting them to constant, unaccountable audits and other restraints -- all in the service of an immense online warfighting machine staffed by military contractors -- would be burning the village in order to save it
At this point, it's impossible to deny that the people behind both bills have written them with little understanding of the internet, or how it reacts to attempts to take away openness or lock things up. Such moves will have significant unintended consequences. I wouldn't go so far as to say that CISPA itself is an attack on the internet, but it does seem reasonable to say that the theories behind it are a significant departure from the openness that the internet has thrived on in the past.