CISPA: New Internet Spying Bill is Worse than SOPA & PIPA
New Internet Censorship Bill: CISPA
Looks like Congress isn't done trying to censor the internet after all. After public outcry drew attention to the overreach of SOPA and PIPA, we thought we may be done with tone-deaf internet snooping bills. Nope.
H.R. 3523, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), sponsored by Mike (R-MI) and C.A. Ruppersberger (D-MD) would allow companies and the government to spy on your online activity with no real limits and no real liabilities.
If you guessed that whomever would be snooping through your emails and web purchase history would hide behind the excuse of "the need for cybersecurity so the terrorists don't get us", you'd be right.
As was the case with SOPA and PIPA, the wording of CISPA is vague enough for us to question if its proponents have ever actually used the internet. The government would be able to spy upon, block, or censor any online communication or activity deemed "disruptive" to the government or "private parties". That just begs for follow-up questions, no?
The Electronic Frontier Foundation is sponsoring a petition to kill CISPA. Not only should Congress be made aware that CISPA is an ill-concieved threat to the First Amendment, but Americans deserve that any internet legislation be crafted by lawmakers who know what the internet actually is. That is yet to happen, it would seem. It's 2012: this level of ignorance about the web is not acceptable in a member of Congress.
Network providers like Verison and AT&T, as well as Facebook, actually support CISPA though that may change if a SOPA-sized outcry ensues. Such companies support CISPA because the bill would tear down restrictions on how they share information.
CDT has an article on what would make for good cybersecurity legislation. These items are mostly missing from CISPA.
If it's confusing to keep track of these different cybersecurity bills, the ACLU has put together a handy dandy (scary) chart (pdf) comparing them all. And what comes through loud and clear is that the Rogers-Ruppersberger CISPA bill will allow for much greater information sharing of companies sending private communication data to the government -- including the NSA, who has been trying very, very hard to get this data, not for cybersecurity reasons, but to spy on people.
CISPA breezed through the House Intelligence Committee on December 1, 2011, with a bipartisan vote of 17-1. Also, as mentioned, the bill has broad support in the House, with 106 co-sponsors, 10 of whom are committee chairmen.
Meanwhile, we're waiting for real-life evidence that Congress needs the spying powers that it claims it does.