Yesterday evening, the House — acting a day earlier than scheduled — passed the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) in the face of opposition from the White House and a skeptical Internet community:
The House on Thursday approved cybersecurity legislation that privacy groups have decried as a threat to civil liberties.
The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, or CISPA, sponsored by Reps. Mike Rogers (R-Michigan) and Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Maryland), passed on a vote of 248 to 168.
Its goal is a more secure internet, but privacy groups fear the measure breaches Americans’ privacy along the way. The White House had weighed in on Wednesday, threatening a veto unless there were significant changes to increase consumer privacy. The bill was amended to provide more privacy protections, but it was not immediately clear whether the Senate or the White House would give the amended bill its blessing.
The Atlantic is reporting on a bill working its way through Congress that could potentially be disastrous for civil liberties and privacy on the Internet. The innocuously-named bill, the “Protecting Children from Internet Pornographers Act of 2011” requires that all ISPs maintain 12-month records of literally every element of your Internet activity. To obtain this info, all police have to do is ask for it - even for other crimes entirely unrelated to child porn.
This is the kind of nice-sounding, yet massively over-broad law that creates far more problems that it intends to solve. And yet it’s hardly surprising that the government is making a power grab under the banner of “protecting children”. That’s right up there with “helping poor people” and “stopping terrorism” in the list of excuses the state has used as a cover for invading our rights.
Clearly, this bill cannot become law. Anything we can do to alert people to it would certainly go a long way to shedding a light on this very problematic legistation.
Thanks go to Jayvie Canono (@OneFineJay) on Twitter for pointing me to this.
Despite a veto threat from the White House, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), a bill that puts Internet privacy at risk:
The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), H.R. 624, was approved in a 288-127 vote despite ongoing fears from some lawmakers and privacy advocates that the measure could give the government access to private information about consumers.
Ninety-two Democrats voted with Republicans in favor of the bill and just 29 Republicans opposed it. The bill secured enough votes to override a veto.
That’s greater support than last year, when a similar bill passed 248-168 with the support of 42 Democrats. Twenty-eight Republicans opposed that bill.
Click here to see how the representatives from your state voted.
While most agree that more needs to be done to protect the United States from hackers and other cyber threat, it needs to be done in a way that ensures Internet privacy. The bill, as currently, simply doesn’t go far enough to that end. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) recently noted that CISPA gives immunity to companies that improperly share data with the government.
It looks like President Barack Obama may finally come down on the right side of an issue. According to a statement released yesterday from the White House, President Obama has issued a veto threat over H.R. 624 — the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, which is more commonly known as CISPA.
“The Administration recognizes and appreciates that the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence (HPSCI) adopted several amendments to H.R. 624 in an effort to incorporate the Administration’s important substantive concerns,” read the statement from the White House. “However, the Administration still seeks additional improvements and if the bill, as currently crafted, were presented to the President, his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill.”
The “improvements” mentioned in the statement are the need for greater privacy protections than the bill currently provides for Internet users.
“H.R. 624 appropriately requires the Federal Government to protect privacy when handling cybersecurity information,” noted the statement. “Importantly, the Committee removed the broad national security exemption, which significantly weakened the restrictions on how this information could be used by the government.”
With the passage of the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) in the House last week, many of us are still trying to determine the impact of the bill on the Internet and how it will affect users.
There is no easy answer to the question, after all, this is a complex issue in a time when hacking and other cyber crimes are becoming more prominent. But those of us that helped kill the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) because of concerns over censorship, CISPA may indeed be much worse because it essentially ignores Fourth Amendment protections:
According to the bill’s main author, Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), CISPA’s main purpose is to allow companies and the government to share information to prevent and defend against cyberattacks. But the bill’s language is written so broadly that it carves out a giant cybersecurity loophole in all existing privacy laws.
The problem is in the bill’s definition of “cyber threat information” and how companies can respond to it. “Cyber threat information” is an overly vague term that can be interpreted to include a wide range of tasks that normally wouldn’t be considered cyberthreats — like encrypting emails or running an anonymization tool such as Tor — and as a result, a company’s options would be so numerous as to allow it to read any user’s communications for a host of reasons.
You may have heard about the Protecting Children from Internet Pornographers Act, legislation introduced by Reps. Lamar Smith (R-TX) and Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) currently working its way through the House that would require ISPs to retain data on customers for 12 months for the government to use in criminal investigations.
Since we’ve all been focused on the debt ceiling debate for the last few weeks, the House Judiciary Committee took advantage of the situation and pushed it through without much of an uproar. But now that we’re turning our attention to other issues, we’re finding out that the legislation is so bad that even Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-WI), who introduced the PATRIOT Act back in 2001, opposes it.
Brian touched on it briefly yesterday, but here is Julian Sanchez explaining what the legislation does and how it would harmful to your privacy (and if you’re more the reading type, you can check out his detailed post on it here):
More than half of likely voters don’t want the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to regulate the Web as it does radio and television, according to a survey from Rasmussen Reports.
Fifty-four percent of likely voters oppose such regulation, while just 21 percent support it, according to the survey of likely voters taken just after the FCC last week approved Chairman Julius Genachowski’s plan to prevent discrimination by Internet service providers against certain websites or applications.
Genachowski’s plan has drawn heated criticism from both the left and right, with Republicans vowing to overturn the regulations during the next Congress.
Republicans and independents overwhelmingly oppose the regulations, according to the survey, while Democrats are more divided. Survey respondents who are heavy Internet users are the most opposed to the FCC’s approach, the survey found.
Basically, what the FCC passed would allow the government to control how ISPs sell their services to customers and prevent them from blocking content from other competing companies. In case you haven’t figured it out, it’s an answer in search of a problem.
To learn more about Net Neutrality, check out this primer posted here last year or check out the video put together by Reason TV: