The House of Representatives passed the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), which take us one step closer to losing our 4th Amendment rights. It now moves to the Senate. Its biggest champion, Republican Mike Rogers (MI)—whose wife stands to profit handsomely should CISPA ultimately pass—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 allows the government to access confidential customer data from online service providers, without a warrant and without evidence of criminal wrongdoing. They can provide personal information to government agencies and private security companies, without the need to remove private data, such as medical records or tax returns, and without regard to the privacy you are promised via a website’s listed policy.
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.
Clearly, if you give the government an inch, it is going to take a mile. CISPA’s language is already vague with regard to individual privacy, and we should not expect that anyone is Washington is going to be interested in protecting our freedoms. There are a few, however. Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) is one of the loudest critics of the bill, and he says, “This is the biggest government takeover of personal information that I’ve seen during my time here in Congress.”
But, don’t worry: the Intelligence Committee released a five page document countering “myths” about CISPA, and assures American citizens that sharing personal data with the government will be a “rare” occurrence.
The American Civil Liberties Union, however, calls CISPA “fatally flawed” and goes on, “The core problem is that CISPA allows too much sensitive information to be shared with too many people in the first place, including the National Security Agency.”
The 4th Amendment reads: “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.”
Freedom Works explains why you should fight back against CISPA:
“The dangerous bill would void all current Internet privacy laws to allow companies to share your private information with the National Security Agency (NSA) without a warrant (including emails and Internet browsing history!).
Under CISPA, the government could be reading private emails or looking through a user’s Internet browsing history without a warrant. Users will have no way of knowing what has been shared since information provided under CISPA would be exempt from Freedom of Information requests. There is possibility that a company could—accidentally or intentionally—send your personal details to federal agencies.
CISPA grants companies immunity from civil and criminal liability. Companies could break privacy contracts that they made with customers…if this happens; there is no legal action that customers may take.
We will have no idea what information companies are sharing with the federal government and we will not be able to choose a company that will legally guarantee our privacy.”
Fax Congress and stop CISPA.