CISPA Blackout

cispablocked

For a list of sites participating in the online CISPA Blackout. Please visit here: http://anonyops.com/cispablackout/othersites.php

If you do decide to put a banner up, you can get added to the list by e-mailing anonyops@gmail.com.

Not sure what CISPA is and why you should oppose it? Check out my STOP CISPA post below.

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STOP CISPA

Stop-Cispa

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!

The Constitution must not end where the digital domain begins.

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.

Resources:

For a copy of the bill in its entirety: http://www.opencongress.org/bill/113-h624/text

How CISPA Would Affect You (faq)

CISPA is Back: FAQ on What it is and Why it’s Still Dangerous

CISPA passes U.S. House: Death of the Fourth Amendment?

The CISPA Government Access Loophole

CISPA is Back

An America Without Privacy

Why CISPA is the Worst and How You Can Help Stop It

CISPA Supporters List: 800+ Companies That Could Help Uncle Sam Snag Your Data

Let them know you vote! Stop CISPA (Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act)

cispatakeaction

Losing An Election

Let me tell you about the time when my choice for presidential candidate lost. Back in 2004, I volunteered for the Kerry presidential campaign. I wasn’t originally a Kerry supporter, I started out as a Howard Dean supporter. However, after Kerry won the primaries, I decided I was going to do everything I could to insure that Bush was not re-elected.

There were so many things I disliked about Bush. In fact, there was a couple I was friends with that asked me why I opposed Bush. Not only did I answer them, but I wrote out an entire essay (in outline form, with links) detailing various things I disliked about his presidency.

The night of the 2004 elections, a large group of us decided to watch the returns at this bar call The Satellite on Capital Hill in Seattle. There were probably about a dozen of us sitting around the table drinking. My drink of choice, to this day, are Manhattans. (Maker’s Mark, perfect, with a cherry instead of a twist…in case you were wondering.)

As the night wore on, and things got steadily worse, I started to console myself with more liquor. Now, we all know that most stations will keep a running ticker tape at the bottom of the screen with the various states’ results as they come in. The ticker tape tends to have about a five minute loop and plays throughout the night.

I got so sloshed, that every time I saw a blue state come up on the television screen, I would call out. “Massachusetts, woohoo! Connecticut, hooray, etc.” Then, five minutes later, “Massachusetts, woohoo! Connecticut, hooray!” I did this intermittently for HOURS.

As the night wore on and it became increasingly clear Kerry was going to lose, people started getting up and moving around. Our group migrated towards the far end of the room. Terry sat me up on a stool at the bar while we were all sitting around talking. Meanwhile, I kept calling out the blue states as they caught my attention. Terry likes to say it was my “drunk girl mating call.”

Sure enough, some guy comes up to me at the bar and starts talking to me. So me, being a friendly sort of drunk and happy to talk to strangers on most occasions, turned to him and started discussing politics.

Meanwhile, Terry was across the way sitting with my best friend and laughing. Unbeknownst to me, while I was earnestly talking politics, creeper dude was busy groping and touching himself. Here I am, completely oblivious, and the guy is fondling his crotch!

So, after about a minute of seeing what was happening, Terry got up, walked over and put his arm around me. I turned to him, looked up, gave him a lopsided smile and start to explain to him that I was talking about the elections, when Terry just smiles, nods and grabs my breast. Just, BAM! Grabs my boob. My eyes got really big and I gave a startled, “Oh!”

He just gives me a kiss and as I turn around to continue my conversation, the guy I was “talking” to was gone. That night, as we made our way back to the car, I ended up stumbling and puking on the Jimi Hendrix statue on Broadway.

THAT’S how to react to the loss of an election.

I’m sorry, Jimi!

Now it’s been a few days since the most recent election. I think most of us have had a chance to decompress a bit from all the campaigning and political ads. We’ve also had a chance to disseminate the results. There have been numerous posts and programs discussing the role that demographics played in this election, and I have to say that I’ve found a lot of it interesting and hopeful.

There have also been a lot of people from the Republican and right-leaning side saying some pretty hurtful and misguided things. It serves to remind me that, even though my preferred candidate won, we still have a lot of work to do in this country.

That being said, I’ve been hesitant to write about all the negativity because I know what it’s like to be rooting for the losing candidate. I know what it’s like to feel like half the country has betrayed you and resigned to the fact that you have to put up with the guy who has been in office for another four more years. I was kind of hoping things would start to die down after the first couple of days.

Instead, it seems like the furor has been building. Murray Energy laid off 156 employees the day after the elections, claiming Obama was waging a “war on coal.” You can read about it from the perspective of one of the laid off employees on reddit.

Applebees, Olive Garden, Domino’s, Papa Johns and countless others have already started talking about laying people off and cutting their employees’ hours because they don’t want to pay for health insurance and disagree with Obamacare. There have even been numerous cries encouraging these type of “revenge” layoffs.

Incidentally, the costs of Obamacare to large chains like these were found to be negligible by the Urban Institute. The healthcare costs would be most felt by companies with fewer than 50 workers, which are exempt from penalties and potentially eligible for premium tax cuts. Moreover, companies with 100 employees or less actually saw their aggregated costs go down. You can read about all their findings HERE. (I highly encourage you to read it!)

Because demographics seemed to play a large role in who voted Obama, we’ve seen a number of racist and sexist remarks made since the election. One guy blames it on sluts. Bill O’Reilly says the only reason why so many Hispanics voted for Obama is because they’re looking for a “handout.” You can watch the video below. And then there’s this girl, who just came right out and called the president the N-word, speculated whether there would be any assassination attempts…and promptly got fired for it. (Oh yeah, and insists she’s not racist.)

I’m really trying hard to empathize with how Romney supporters must be feeling right now. For example, when it was official that Obama had won, I posted, “All my friends and loved ones, let’s have a celebratory drink!” Most of my friends responded positively, however my cousin (who is Mormon and conservative) said, “I don’t need a drink. I’m already nauseous.”

Which, is completely fair and honest. I appreciate her candor, even if I disagree with her politics. So I said, “I’m sorry to hear it, <cousin.> We can have a conciliatory ginger ale together. I think we can agree that we both want the country to improve. Hopefully, many good things will come in the next four years so that everybody will be happy in the long run.”

I’d like to think my response was an example of how to be even-handed and empathetic, despite differing opinions. Overall, I think our society needs to learn how to disagree civilly more often. Democracy doesn’t mean you’re candidate is guaranteed to win. It just means you’re able to vote for the one you favor and work towards that end goal. (For now, anyway, we’ll see how it all plays out with the voter obstructionists.)

I’m disappointed to see so many people unwilling to compromise and come together as Americans first, party affiliations second. I’m frustrated with all the bickering and sniping. After how long this campaign has been, haven’t we had enough?

If you’re feeling like I do, check out this article written by a former Republican. I think the author perfectly articulates how I’m feeling in the election aftermath. Let’s hope the Romney supporters can just puke up their frustrations and accept their candidate lost. Then maybe we can all come together and make this country work.

President Obama

This pretty much says it all, doesn’t it? SO much to celebrate and discuss. However, it is now 2:25am in the morning and it will all have to wait until after I get some sleep. In the meantime, I’ll be dreaming good things tonight! Woohoo! Four more years for President Obama!

Phew.

Vote!

Florida is already experiencing issues voting this election. Florida’s Republican governor, Rick Scott, decided to make the difficulty of voting even harder by cutting the number of days for early voting nearly in half (15 to 8 days.) The League of Women Voters officially requested additional time for early voting, but were denied.

People have, literally, been standing in lines for 4, 6, up to 8 hours in order to cast their ballots. You may be thinking, well, why don’t they just vote absentee? There have also been problems with absentee ballots not being delivered to certain counties (that tend to be Democratic) even though they were requested over a month ago.

Voters who don’t receive their absentee ballots will be required to vote with a provisional ballot at the polls. Provisional ballots don’t get tallied until a week AFTER the election and have had a history of not being counted in Florida’s elections.

To make matter worse, they have also had to  shut down an early voting site in Orange County because of “suspicious” items. The police brought in a bomb squad to detonate two packages. Luckily the district judge there ordered the polling place to remain open to make up for the lost time and allowed voters a chance to cast their ballot.

Unfortunately, the problems have not just been relegated to Florida this year. There have also been insanely long lines for early voting  in Ohio. Republican Secretary of State, Jon Husted, has been actively trying to limit and obstruct Ohioan citizens from voting this election.

These lines are the direct result of having partisan, specifically Republican, officials in charge of the election process in these states. In both instances, there have been multiple attempts (and successes) to limit the number of early voting days, voting hours and ability to cast your choice in this election.

Please! Do not let their tactics succeed. To be honest, I don’t even care if you are a Romney or Obama supporter. The right to vote in this country is absolutely essential to our democracy. We must, Democrat or Republican, defend our right to participate in our government processes. Voter suppression is anathema to the very concept of democracy.

That’s why I’m urging everyone to STAY IN LINE tomorrow and cast your ballot. Don’t let the underhanded tacticians win. Don’t let them silence you and prevent you from voting. Also, remember these people next time they’re up for re-election and let them know that preventing the population from voting is not in the best interests of anybody, especially them.