Senator Ron Wyden Slams Cybersecurity Legislation Proposals For Eroding Trust & Privacy

from the privacy-should-be-the-default,-not-the-exception dept

Senator Ron Wyden took to the floor of the Senate earlier this week to speak out against pretty much all of the current cybersecurity proposals out there arguing that "privacy should be the default, not the exception." While noting that narrowly targeted cybersecurity rules could be helpful in protecting consumers, he stated that it seems clear that these bills are much more focused on opening up the internet for government to spy and monitor activities online:
The full speech is chock full of good points, such as the importance of trust in creating a functioning internet, and how these bills can ruin that by cutting away at our privacy:
Congress’ effort to develop a comprehensive approach to cyber security must not erode that trust. When Americans go online to consume digital services and goods, they must believe and know with some certainty that their privacy is adequately protected. The content Americans consume must be at least as private as their library records, video rentals, and book purchases in the brick and mortar world. Our law enforcement and Intelligence agencies should not be free to monitor and catalog the speech of Americans just because it’s online.

But the bill passed by the other body, known as CISPA, would erode that trust. As an attempt to protect our networks from real cyber-threats CISPA is an example of what not to do. CISPA repeals important provisions of existing electronic surveillance law that have been on the books for years without instituting corresponding privacy, confidentiality, and civil liberties safeguards. It creates uncertainty in place of trust, it erodes statutory and constitutional civil rights protections, and it creates a surveillance regime in place of the targeted, nimble, cyber-security program that is needed to truly protect this nation.

Unfortunately, S. 2105, the bill before the Senate shares some of these defects. Currently Internet services and service providers have agreements with their customers that allow them to police and protect their networks and users. Rather than simply allowing these internet companies to share information on users who violate their contracts and pose a security threat, the House and Senate proposals authorize a broad based information sharing regime that can operate with impunity. This would allow the personal data of individual Americans to be shared across a multitude of bureaucratic, military, and law enforcement agencies. This takes place regardless of the privacy agreements individual Americans have with their service providers.

In fact, both the House and Senate bills subordinate all existing privacy rules and constitutional principles to the poorly defined interest of “cyber-security.”
Wyden goes even further later in the speech noting -- as many of us have been arguing all along -- that these bills are a massive overreaction to the possibility of an issue, which are much more about ways for government contractors to profit from fear:
As they stand, these bills are an overreaction to a legitimate fear. The American people will respond by limiting their online activities. That’s a recipe to stifle speech, innovation, job creation, and social progress.

I believe these bills will encourage the development of a cyber security industry that profits from fear and whose currency is Americans private data. These bills create a Cyber Industrial Complex that has an interest in preserving the problem to which it is the solution.
There's a lot more in the speech that's worth hearing, so check it out.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    BeachBumCowboy (profile), May 23rd, 2012 @ 9:17am

    Trust

    "importance of trust in creating a functioning internet,"

    It's not just important in creating a functioning internet, it's the importance of trust in creating a functioning democratic society. The government is constantly making claims of "Trust Us", and yet they are completely unwilling to trust The People.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2012 @ 9:21am

    Obviously the more your citizens distrust and fear the government the more happier they are! right....

     

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  3.  
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    The eejit (profile), May 23rd, 2012 @ 9:22am

    Re: Trust

    Well, yeah. The People can removew their power whenever The People choose. So, in order to stay in power, they have to curtail the freedom of the masses.

    It's like having Troy McClure as your doctor saying "Trust m,e, I'm a Doctor".

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2012 @ 9:48am

    a shame that someone in his position that has such sense and understanding, particularly about the Internet will be totally ignored. it wont be because what he is saying is wrong but because those that are trying to get CISPA and other similar/worse bills (eg, TPP) into law have either received mega 'incentives' to force them through or are so full of themselves that getting what they want, regardless of the consequences, is more important than keeping the constitution intact and keeping peoples rights to privacy, freedom and speech alive

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2012 @ 9:53am

    Ron Paul and this fella should meet up

    Ron for Press
    Liberty or nothing


    UK
    International support

     

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  6.  
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    Pro Se (profile), May 23rd, 2012 @ 9:55am

    Actually, it is difficult to take issue with the concerns he raises in his remarks. They are well made and articulately presented.

    My only negative comment is that his remarks appear to have been made to an empty house, which is quite common. Speeches are regularly made under such circumstances for inclusion in the Congressional Record, but a speech limited to just inclusion in the CR is not an effective substitute for presentation before the Senate at large.

    While I recognize that my views will almost certainly never be added to the Senate rules, this is one area where public attention should be brought to bear.

    Moreover, I wish similar arguments were raised against other government programs such as the role of the TSA regarding airline security. Target individuals who exhibit well-recognized actions that have proven to be predictors of possible wrongdoers.

    I have in the past criticized some of Senator Wyden's opinion, but this is most certainly not one of them.

     

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  7.  
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    :Lobo Santo (profile), May 23rd, 2012 @ 9:56am

    Re: Incentives

    I was thinking about that this morning... Wouldn't it be nice if there were a law which said:
    "Any person elected or hired in any Legislative or Executive branch of government at any level (Federal, State, County, et al) will be deprived of and banned from government service immediately if it is found that said person proposed, passed, or enforced a law which the Supreme Court later found to unconstitutional."
    (Or something to that effect, certainly the working could be more clear.)

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2012 @ 9:59am

    It's sad that he only has (almost) 800 views (so far). It deserves more views. Common sense, as he states, says that anything critical shouldn't be connected to the Internet.

    These cyber security bills will do absolutely nothing to secure the Internet. Separating critical infrastructure from the Internet and securing your infrastructure through well written source code will be less costly, less intrusive, and more effective.

    But will Congress listen to him? Of course not. This isn't about cyber security, it's about unnecessary government intrusion into our lives.

    and these bills are an overreaction to a non-existing problem. It's sad.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2012 @ 9:59am

    Andy Phachest

    The government is constantly making claims of "Trust Us"

    Never, ever, ever, trust anyone that says "Trust Us", especially not a government that says "Trust Us" - it is a key ploy of Fascism.

     

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  10.  
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    TDR, May 23rd, 2012 @ 9:59am

    If they won't listen to Wyden and instead try to push through CISPA, TPP, and these other crap bills, hopefully the internet will rise up in another epic anti-SOPAlike moment and say, as they did then:

    "YOU... SHALL NOT... PASS!!!"

     

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  11.  
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    Pro Se (profile), May 23rd, 2012 @ 10:02am

    Re: Re: Incentives

    Yes, your suggestion does need a lot of work. For example, if the PPACA is struck down by the Supreme Court in whole or in part, do you really want the President to be "fired" (obviously the constitution would not permit this) if the Supreme Court does not render a decision upholding the entirety of the Act? Of course the clear answer is "no".

     

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  12.  
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    :Lobo Santo (profile), May 23rd, 2012 @ 10:07am

    Re: Re: Re: Incentives

    Actually, the answer is "yes".

    I'd like everybody in those branches of government to break out in a cold sweat and think thrice before even considering doing/supporting something which could be deemed unconstitutional.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  13.  
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    Lowestofthekeys (profile), May 23rd, 2012 @ 10:23am

    Re:

    I can imagine Wyden debating and calling the other guy a "fool of a Took."

     

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  14.  
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    jupiterkansas (profile), May 23rd, 2012 @ 10:36am

    It's awesome to see a politician stand up and say exactly what's on my mind.

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2012 @ 10:38am

    Re:

    Liberty or nothing? Funny, I always thought was liberty or death. Apparently "Give me liberty, or just leave me with nothing" is a valid cry for change now.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2012 @ 10:39am

    Ya know, I wish Senator Wyden represented my state instead of folk like Lamar Smith from the house, or others of his ilk. I don't much agree with most of the stuff I hear coming out of congress lately, just like most of the citizenship of the nation. I'd much rather see a middle of the road Representatives than all the extremists that seem to inhabit Washington these days.

    Senator Wyden has been fairly consistent in his views of privacy for the public. I'll give him kudos and credit for that.

    There's a reason why most of the national population is showing so little trust and support for Congress. When you hear what the latest are, such as SOPA, ACTA, or the TPP, it doesn't take long to figure out which side the bread is being buttered from. It just seems to go from there into all aspects and topics when considering bill making.

    In my mind it will be a wonder if some of the incumbents survive this years election.

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2012 @ 10:45am

    Hmm, I might add that in the same vein of Senator's Wydens' speech about how the net is used, it isn't just limited to that.

    Look at branches like the TSA. A show and tell security operation but one that can't really function. I can tell you straight up, I won't be flying where ever I travel. I have no wish to harm anyone. My butt would be in the same plane were I on it.

    I do not condone sexual groping. If the government can't figure out there is a moral issue here, well and good. I have a distinct opinion (which I might add that I live by) about such operations and I have a choice. I will exercise that choice and never fly while other options are available. Yes, I do feel that strongly about government sanctioned sexual groping under any name. It doesn't change the actions.

     

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  18.  
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    John Doe, May 23rd, 2012 @ 10:51am

    This is the entire government

    that has an interest in preserving the problem to which it is the solution

    This can be said about pretty much everything the government does.

     

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  19.  
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    Loki, May 23rd, 2012 @ 11:04am

    When a government feels it is necessary to spy upon a majority of its citizens, then there is a problem with the government, not the people.

     

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  20.  
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    RD, May 23rd, 2012 @ 11:06am

    Maybe not perfect, but better than the rest

    Ron Wyden continues to be the only member of congress (that I know of) who is worth a damn as a politician and an American. We need more like him with his pro-American citizen, constitution, and rights of the people stances.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
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    The eejit (profile), May 23rd, 2012 @ 11:06am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Incentives

    One major flaw - you assume Congresscritters think.

     

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  22.  
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    John Doe, May 23rd, 2012 @ 11:06am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Incentives

    I'm with Lobo.

     

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  23.  
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    Michael, May 23rd, 2012 @ 11:11am

    I applaud Sen. Ron Wyden for defending core American values. Really shameful state of affairs when a Senator needs defend us not from a foreign oppressor but rather from our own government.

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2012 @ 11:48am

    Right on.

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 23rd, 2012 @ 11:50am

    I wonder how many members of Congress read this blog?

     

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  26.  
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    jupiterkansas (profile), May 23rd, 2012 @ 12:02pm

    Re:

    There's at least one.

     

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  27.  
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    Peter, May 23rd, 2012 @ 12:38pm

    I don't know why but i never get tired of listening to this man (Wyden). Of course i don't always agree with EVERYTHING he says but there's always room for improvement and understanding.

     

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  28.  
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    silverscarcat (profile), May 23rd, 2012 @ 1:01pm

    Re:

    Should I send Wyden my fanfiction?

    It's got over 200 chapters, he could read that to filibuster anything.

     

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  29.  
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    davnel (profile), May 23rd, 2012 @ 1:15pm

    I'm worried

    Mike:
    I don't know how you feel, but Mr. Wyden had best be careful. These people are not above arranging an "accident" to eliminate this interference with their plans, in the best family tradition. He's been much too vocal lately, not that I disagree with him.

     

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  30.  
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    quawonk, May 23rd, 2012 @ 2:27pm

    The American people will respond by limiting their online activities. Thatís a recipe to stifle speech

    and that there is probably the point. They can't have people questioning the "official story".

     

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  31.  
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    BeeAitch (profile), May 23rd, 2012 @ 2:34pm

    Re: Andy Phachest

    I've long held the view that the phrase "trust me (or trust us)" often translates to "fuck you".

    If one wants my trust, they should be able to articulate why.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  32.  
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    Joe Publius (profile), May 23rd, 2012 @ 2:39pm

    Re:

    Since posting on blogs is the furthest I will go into social networking, couldn't someone more savvy nudge the other social/news sites to spread the word?

    I'm sure sypathetic folks could be found at Reddit, Fark, and other places.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  33.  
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    TaCktiX (profile), May 23rd, 2012 @ 2:49pm

    Re: Re:

    Only counts if it's either so obtuse or so dry as to put people hyped on several pots of coffee to sleep.

     

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  34.  
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    Dave Nelson (profile), May 23rd, 2012 @ 2:55pm

    Re:

    Especially when it's pure prevarication.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  35.  
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    Pjerky (profile), May 23rd, 2012 @ 3:06pm

    Re: Re: Re: Incentives

    Maybe we could make it a "three strikes" law like the criminal laws in California that have created a prison population so big that it could form a new nation (like Australia, but with much less land).

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  36.  
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    [citation needed or GTFO], May 23rd, 2012 @ 9:14pm

    Re: I'm worried

    True, but the internet's not above playing dirty themselves...

     

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  37.  
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    Eric Jaffa, May 24th, 2012 @ 12:11am

    I only disagree with his implication

    ...that we need a narrower cyber-security bill than the ones in Congress.

    Companies share cyber-security information under current law.

    We don't need a cyber-security bill.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  38.  
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    hemo_jr (profile), May 27th, 2012 @ 2:38pm

    Amazed

    Is Ron Wyden a Democrat? I'm amazed. That was not expected.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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