No freedom, no debate. In the midst of chaos of the Boston Marathon bomber and the explosions in Texas, on Thursday, Americans moved closer to losing more 4th amendment rights when the House of Representatives passed the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA). This came after Republican Mike Rogers (MI) held closed-door meetings with his Intelligence Committee and disallowed debate on an amendment that would have required a warrant for the government to spy on you.
CISPA now moves to the Senate.
The 4th Amendment protects you from unreasonable search and seizure; but CISPA ends that protection online. It allows the government to access confidential customer data from online service providers, without a warrant and without evidence of criminal wrongdoing. Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) warned that the language allows the government to “go on fishing expeditions for electronic devices,” for instance at “gun shows,” or “football games”—wherever a great amount of people are gathering.
Michigan Republican Justin Amash tried to get an amendment passed ensuring that privacy policies and terms of companies would remain valid and enforceable, but was denied.
Interestingly enough, Mike Rogers, the man responsible for holding CISPA meetings in secret and fighting so hard for its passage, has a big conflict of interest.
Mike’s wife Kristi worked for a security defense contractor that would have benefitted from this legislation; and now, she’s managing director at a big lobbying firm that focuses on “executive level problem solving in the defense and homeland security sectors.”
So, our privacy, our rights, our 4th Amendment, was sold out in favor of big State Department contracts.
The Internet is a goldmine of information, and every day we are changing the way we live and interact with one another based on technological innovations and creative uses for social media. But this goldmine is about to become the government’s treasure chest. CISPA means that any information shared online that is deemed a cyber threat--which you can imagine, with the government involved, can be highly subjective in nature--can be shared openly with government, security agencies and private companies. Worse yet, you will have no legal recourse, even if you didn't do anything wrong.
Nobody “owns” the Internet, but CISPA almost guarantees the U.S. government will hold dominion over it. Every website you visit, every piece of personal data you enter, and every action you take online will soon become the property of the Feds.
No one denies the fact that if you’re going to be a part of the Internet; you need to know how to keep your site safe from hackers and attackers. But very few think it’s a good idea to bundle up all kinds of data on American citizens and hand it over with a bow on top to any government or security agency that asks for it.
ACLU legislative counsel Michelle Richardson warned, “As we’ve seen repeatedly, once the government gets expansive national security authorities, there’s no going back.”
President Obama says he will veto CISPA if it comes out of the Senate, but that is what he said about the National Defense Authorization Act just before he signed it. We cannot rely on him, as he has been extremely supportive of CISPA provisions in the past.
Fax Congress and stop CISPA.