There is a major vote coming up in the Senate about CISPA. The House has already passed it. If you use the internet in any capacity (Facebook, Google, Twitter, Wikipedia, Reddit, WordPress, etc,) you stand to have your 4th amendment rights and privacy violated…and not even know it’s happening!
Would you let police or government officials randomly invade your home, record your phone calls, comb through your financial records, search and seize whatever interests them without a warrant or reason?
CISPA will allow them to do that to any and all information about you online. Not only that, but they don’t even have to let you know that they’re doing it. Oh, and they’re also allowed to use 3rd PARTIES in order to obtain the information. 3rd parties that then have access to your information and have very loose definitions and little-to-no oversight preventing them from using it for other means.
If you have been subject to this, and you somehow happen to find out about it, you will have no legal recourse to dispute their actions or their claims. So, if there is a mix-up or a case of mistaken identity, you could suffer these ramifications with no way of rectifying the situation.
This will also have international ramifications because CISPA can override any site’s Terms of Service. So, for example, CISPA would allow Canadian (or any other country’s citizens) online data to be available to the US government without a warrant.
Let’s talk about those loose definitions for a moment. CISPA, as it’s currently written, allows greater access to your personal information by the government. Here’s a quote from the bill defining “Cyber Threat:”
“Information in the possession of an element of the intelligence community directly pertaining to a vulnerability of, or threat to, a system or a network of a government or private entity.” (emphasis mine)
So, if you were to cleave to the letter of the law, the next time you tweet something negative about- let’s say AT&T’s customer service- they could say you were a threat to their business. See how such broad definitions in this bill could leave the door open for future abuse?
Okay, now let’s look at another part of their definition of “Cyber Threat:”
“Theft or misappropriation of private or government information, intellectual property or personally identifiable information.” (emphasis mine)
Intellectual property has been a hot topic for corporations ever since the internet was born. I believe in giving due credit to owner’s of intellectual property. I’m not a proponent of people who steal the hard work of others. (Duh, I’m a blogger! Cite me if you’re going to quote me, amiright?)
That being said, there have been many cases where corporations have taken things to the extreme. If they had their way, we would not have an iTunes. Justin Bieber would still be some kid singing in his basement (remember, he got his start on YouTube, singing cover songs of “intellectual property.”) We, as bloggers, would probably be getting sued left and right for mentioning companies, or sharing photos with an accidental logo in the background. Sites like Pinterest would never exist.
The point being, when you put “private entity” and “intellectual property” under the definition of Cyber Threat, you are setting a very dangerous precedent. One that opens the door for massive abuse. Now add to the fact that they can collect your private information secretly and then share it- all under this Cyber Threat umbrella- and you’ll never even know it is happening.
My friend, JRingo says:
“Most basically, this bill, as it reads in current format, allows for the suspension of all rights regarding the 4th amendment in terms of your online presence. As well, the bill removes all methods of legal recourse for the citizen if rights are found to be violated. While the motivation at present time may be pure (which I doubt knowing the history of military-industrial-security complex in this nation and their effect on legislation), the broad and ambiguous nature of the language presented in the bill leaves great room for interpretation further down the road.
Our rights to privacy are already at an all-time low, and this bill allows for a greater subjugation of one of the bedrock, fundamental rights afforded to us by the Constitution. While it may appear inconsequential now, the future could be quite bleak if we continue down this path.”
I couldn’t have said it better myself.
Unlike it’s older sister, SOPA, the online corporations have not been as opposed to CISPA. This is because they are not being held liable for sharing your personal information to the government and 3rd parties. That means we, as citizens, have a LOT more work to do.
Please, take a moment and read up on this issue. Inform yourself about what you stand to lose. I have included a list of links at the bottom of the page. This issue should be particularly important to my fellow bloggers out there reading this on the WordPress and Blogger blogs. It directly affects you.
Then, after you feel comfortably aware, WRITE YOUR SENATORS and spread the word. If you’re not sure who your senators are, or how to contact them, then you can go HERE. They need to know that we will not stand idly by while they dismantle the 4th amendment in regards to the internet.
There is also an internet blackout scheduled for 4/22/13 to make our protest really visible. I encourage anybody reading this to participate! Change your avatars on FaceBook and Twitter. Put a post up on your blogs with the NO CISPA logo and get more people aware of this bill. Write a post about CISPA yourself. Or, if you don’t feel comfortable doing that, I am encouraging anybody who reads this to link back to this post, tweet it, share it any way you can.
This is not a liberal vs. conservative issue. This is not a Republican vs. Democrat issue. This affects everyone. Sign the petition. Write your Senators.
For a copy of the bill in its entirety: http://www.opencongress.org/bill/113-h624/text
Let them know you vote! Stop CISPA (Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act)