Leave us alone Kill H.R. 3523 CISPA!
Editors Note on 04-22-2012… After further comments from Congress, CISPA will most likely be voted on later in the week… still, this is a very urgent matter and we must let our lawmakers know that we oppose CISPA! Keep up the fight!
H.R. 3523: Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act: “To provide for the sharing of certain cyber threat intelligence and cyber threat information between the intelligence community and cybersecurity entities, and for other purposes.”
Wow…is that broad?
The US House of Representatives is voting the week of April 23, 2012 on legislation that gives the government, including agencies like the National Security Agency (NSA), unprecedented power to spy on our personal information; medical records, Google searches, private emails, financial information of people who are not even suspected of doing anything wrong; without a warrant, oversight or limits. NO WAY!
CISPA is about the Fourth Amendment: “The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized”. The bill creates unlimited, unchecked access for unprecedented government monitoring of internet users personal online information.
We said no to SOPA. We said no to PIPA. Now we need to say no to CISPA. The bills
creators, Reps. Mike Rogers (R-Michigan) and Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Maryland), insist that their bill is attentive to privacy while providing necessary legal mechanisms to encourage private companies to share information with the government. OK, so they bribed the internet companies…now if feel safe. Not!
The problem with CISPA is any terrorism security it offers comes at the expense of unregulated government access to our personal information. The Fourth Amendment says no, so no! Two weeks ago, CISPA was thought to be untouchable, until “we the people” began to stir. Our “not for the people” Congress did not want the bill to end up like SOPA so they met quietly hoping that we would miss it! We were not supposed to get in the way. The bill was a done deal because it had strong bipartisan support, CISPA was racing toward passage. But we can stop it!
CISPA is has been changing around the edges but still has five major evils:
- CISPA is way too broad with almost unlimited information being shared with government agencies and CISPA trumps any federal or state privacy law that currently prohibits disclosure.
- CISPA enactment is will certainly to lead to expansion of the government’s role in the monitoring of private communications.
- CISPA allows private companies to share sensitive and personal information about our internet use with the government.
- CISPA lets military agencies such as the National Security Agency (NSA) directly collect internet records of American citizens who use the public, domestic, civilian internet.
- CISPA permits the government use the private information it collects about us for any purpose it deems fit outside of regulation.
Last Tuesday, the Obama administration weighed in when National Security Council spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said, without directly mentioning CISPA, “information sharing provisions must include robust safeguards to preserve the privacy and civil liberties of our citizens,” otherwise, it “will not meet our nation’s urgent needs.” However, opposition from the Obama administration stopped short of a veto threat.
Due to the opposition to the bill, the co-sponsors are amending the bill to address concerns; including limiting its scope to a narrower definition of cyber-threats, and stating that the “theft of intellectual property” refers to the theft of research and development. In addition, there would be penalties if private companies or the government uses data from CISPA for purposes “unrelated to cyber threats.” However, Sharan Bradford Franklin, of the Constitution Project stated, “Although we appreciate the Intelligence Committee’s efforts to improve the bill and willingness to engage in a dialogue with privacy advocates, the changes in its most current draft do not come close to addressing the civil liberties threats posed by the bill, and some of the proposals would actually make CISPA worse. Therefore, Congress should not pass CISPA.” Rainey Reitman, of the Electronic Frontier Foundation says this, “To date, the authors of the bill have been unresponsive to these criticisms, offering amendments that are largely cosmetic. Dismissing the grave concerns about how this bill could undermine the core privacy rights of everyday Internet users, Rep. Mike Rogers characterized the growing protests against CISPA as ‘turbulence’ and vowed to push for a floor vote without radical changes.” Kendall Burman of the Center for Democracy and Technology believes, “The authors of CISPA have made some positive changes recently. Unfortunately, none of the changes gets to the heart of the privacy concerns that internet users and advocacy groups have expressed.”
The Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA, was defeated by companies and civil liberties groups coalescing in opposition to the bill. This time, with CISPA, no such coalition exists. In fact the House Intelligence committee lists letters of support from dozens of companies including Facebook, Microsoft, Boeing, Oracle, IBM, Verizon, AT&T, and Intel. However, civil liberty groups are unwaveringly opposing CISPA and one group has gotten over 670,000 signatures on an anti-CISPA Web petition.
The White House’s National Security Council previously endorsed a different proposal – known as the Lieberman/Collins/Rockefeller/Feinstein cybersecurity bill that would be more regulatory. But it too has been criticized for overly broad language.
This must be stopped and it is up to us, citizens, patriots…the people of the United States to kill CISPA.