cispa Archives |







19
Apr 12

Red Alert: Draconian CISPA Bill Picking Up Sponsors Ahead Of Vote Next Week


(Kurt Nimmo)  CISPA, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, is picking up sponsors and it looks like the legislation will make it to the House floor for a vote next week. CISPA emerged from the House Intelligence Committee with an overwhelming vote of 17-1.

The bill, authored by Rep. Mike Rogers, a Michigan Republican, is supported by Google, the technology company in bed with the CIA and responsible for building the Great Firewall of China. Google is not alone in supporting CISPA. Corporate sponsors include Facebook, Microsoft, Intel, IBM, Verizon, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and others, according to the House’s Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, long a champion of rights online, has signed on to two coalition letters urging legislators to drop their support for HR 3523. The coalition behind the privacy letter includes dozens of groups, including the ACLU, the American Library Association, the American Policy Center, the Center for Democracy and Technology, the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, and many others, according to the EFF website.

The letter warns:

CISPA creates an exception to all privacy laws to permit companies to share our information with each other and with the government in the name of cybersecurity…. CISPA’s ‘information sharing’ regime allows the transfer of vast amounts of data, including sensitive information like internet use history or the content of emails, to any agency in the government including military and intelligence agencies like the National Security Agency or the Department of Defense Cyber Command. Once in government hands, this information can be used for any non-regulatory purpose so long as one significant purpose is for cybersecurity or to protect national security.

CISPA was pushed through following public outrage over SOPA and PIPA, two sneaky attempts to undermine internet freedom earlier this year under the guise of protecting the copyrights of Hollywood and its transnational “entertainment” corporations.


CISPA is far worse than its forerunners. It would amend the the National Security Act of 1947 – legislation that created the national security state and the CIA – and centralize “information sharing” between government agencies, intelligence agencies, and the Pentagon.

Time Techland admits that, according to the Center for Democracy & Technology, CISPA threatens privacy because it “has a very broad, almost unlimited definition of the information that can be shared with government agencies and it supersedes all other privacy laws,” “is likely to lead to expansion of the government’s role in the monitoring of private communications” and “is likely to shift control of government cybersecurity efforts from civilian agencies to the military.”

In short, it is a dream bill designed specifically for the national security surveillance state. CISPA will put a legal facade on behavior the CIA and NSA have engaged in for decades. It is the culmination of years of cyber psyops and attendant propaganda designed convince the public that they must surrender their privacy.

The transfer of “cybersecurity efforts from civilian agencies to the military” is especially alarming considering the Pentagon’s aggressive response to supposed cyber attacks. In early 2011, the Pentagon said that cyber attacks constitute acts of war and will be responded to with military action.

It is imperative that you contact your representatives immediately and tell them that you strongly oppose this dangerous legislation and demand they vote against it. If CISPA is allowed to pass next week, it will be a victory for the global elite and their ongoing effort to turn the internet into the largest and most comprehensive surveillance and control mechanism in human history.

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18
Apr 12

Over 800 Corporations,Chamber of Commerce Support Internet Freedom Crushing CISPA

(Madison Ruppert)  It’s quite sad for me to say that over 3 million businesses in the United States represented by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, not to mention 800+ other major corporations (see below list), all have shown their support for thedisturbing legislation known as CISPA, or the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act.

This long list includes corporations like Google, Facebook, AT&T, Verizon, Microsoft, IBM, Boeing, Intel, the Financial Services Roundtable, Lockheed Martin, Qualcomm, Northrop Grumman, VeriSign, Symantec, Oracle, the National Cable & Telecommunications Association, the Internet Security Alliance, the information Technology Industry Council, the Independent Telephone & Telecommunications Alliance, Cyber, the Space & Intelligence Association, CTIA – the Wireless Association, the Business Roundtable and more (all of which are listed below).


Please take a moment out of your day to either share this article or at least the list of corporations behind this legislation in order to help coordinate a boycott effort.

I believe it would also be beneficial to call them repeatedly (inundating their phone lines can be a major headache), shower them with emails, letters, etc. all in an attempt to get them to back away from CISPA.

Widespread protest efforts were quite successful in bringing down the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), but now we have to keep in mind that many of the corporations who were anti-SOPA are actually pro-CISPA.

This means that the public will have to be engaged to a much more significant degree in order to have an impact even remotely comparable to what we saw in opposition to SOPA and the Protect IP Act (PIPA).

The real reason that corporations who were against SOPA and PIPA but are now behind CISPA is because, unlike the previous legislation, it removes all liability from the corporations and shifts the regulatory pressure away from the company.
SOPA actually required private corporations to keep tabs on all of their user activity and made them liable for their users and their activities.

CISPA, on the other hand, shifts that responsibility away from the private corporations completely and hands that role over to a government entity.

This makes it so corporations are protected from lawsuits from a user who has their private information given to the government under CISPA.

Now I’m sure you can see why companies like Google (which protested SOPA in a quite visible manner) and Facebook (which also voiced opposition to SOPA) are champing at the bit to get behind CISPA.

“CISPA would allow ISPs, social networking sites and anyone else handling Internet communications to monitor users and pass information to the government without any judicial oversight,” according to the Activism Director for the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), Rainey Reitman. “The language of this bill is dangerously vague, so that personal online activity — from the mundane to the intimate — could be implicated.”

What exactly does “dangerously vague” mean, you ask? Well, the EFF has done a fantastic job of explaining exactly what they mean.

CISPA would allow “access to any information regarding a ‘cyber threat’ is granted to the government, privacy security agencies and private companies.”

CISPA’s definition of a “cyber threat” is as follows:

  • Efforts to disrupt or destroy government or private systems or networks.
  • Theft or misappropriation of private or government information, intellectual property, or personally identifiable information.

In this context, misappropriation means “wrongful borrowing” and intellectual property means anything protected by a copyright including programs like Photoshop and Microsoft Office, MP3s, television shows and movies, and absolutely anything in between.

The purposefully vague language of CISPA leaves room for abuse in the following ways (according tothis informative infographic from the EFF):

  • The government, private security agencies (think HB Gary and many more), and private companies (which arealready being brought into the fold) acting in “good faith” actually means maybe you did it (whatever it allegedly may be).
  • These entities can share “cyber threat information” which, in reality, is your personal information with other private companies, private security agencies and government entities.
  • They can do this all with total anonymity, meaning that they don’t have to tell you what they’re doing or if they’re sending your information to someone or even who they are sending it to.
  • It also gives these entities immunity to legal action, which means that you can’t take action against any of them, even if they made a mistake with your information.

The EFF graphic aptly sums it up by saying, “Privacy policy? LOL.”

“Any existing legal protections of user privacy will be usurped by CISPA. The bill clearly states that the information may be shared ‘notwithstanding any other provision of law,’” they add.

Recently, Joel Kaplan, Facebook’s vice president for U.S. public policy, attempted to reassure users. In my opinion, he failed miserably in attempting to say that it only would allow them to share information about possible cyber attacks while not forcing any new data sharing obligations, adding:

[W]e recognize that a number of privacy and civil liberties groups have raised concerns about the bill – in particular about provisions that enable private companies to voluntarily share cyber threat data with the government. The concern is that companies will share sensitive personal information with the government in the name of protecting cybersecurity. Facebook has no intention of doing this and it is unrelated to the things we liked about HR 3523 in the first place — the additional information it would provide us about specific cyber threats to our systems and users.

EFF shot back in a quite thorough blog post entitled, “What Facebook Wants in Cybersecurity Doesn’t Require Trampling On Our Privacy Rights.”

They note that the government can already share information about supposed cyber threats with corporations like Facebook without “any of the CISPA provisions that allow companies to routinely monitor private communications and share personal user data gleaned from those communications with the government.”

They also make it very clear that they do not trust Facebook’s claims in writing:

But let’s be clear: Internet users don’t want promises from companies not to intercept our private communications and share that data with one another and the government. We want strong laws that make such egregious privacy violations illegal, that require the government to follow legal process (judicial oversight in most case), and that allow us or the government to sue persons who break the law. Ironically, hard-won, long-standing privacy laws—like the Wiretap Act and the Electronic Communications Privacy Act—already exist, although they are by no means ideal. There are already too many exceptions that allow the government to gain access to sensitive user data. But CISPA would upend these existing legal protections and leave the door wide open to companies handing sensitive personal information to the government without so much as a subpoena, let alone a warrant.

Considered together, this information paints nothing short of a disturbing picture. With Silicon Valley’s data mining capabilities more sophisticated than ever before, and with many peoples’ information being captured without their knowledge or consent, the information that will be readily available is almost incomprehensible in its scope.

The house will be voting on CISPA on April 23 and I highly recommend that you make an effort to put this legislation down before we see even more of our rights trampled on by our tyrannical federal government.

I’d love to hear your opinion, take a look at your story tips, and even your original writing if you would like to get it published. Please email me at [email protected]

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List of corporations


04
Apr 12

Lawmakers Trying To Sneak Another Unconstitutional Cyber Security Bill Through Congress

(Mike Masnick)  While most folks are looking elsewhere, it appears that Congress is trying to see if it can sneak an absolutely awful “cybersecurity” bill through Congress. We’ve discussed how there’s been some fighting on the Senate side concerning which cybersecurity bill to support, but there’s a similar battle going on in the House, and it appears that the Rogers-Ruppersberger bill, known as Cyber Security Bill (for Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act) or HR 3523 is winning out, with a planned attempt to move it through Congress later this month. The bill is awful – and yet has somehow already gained over 100 sponsors. In an attempt to pretend that this isn’t a “SOPA-like” problem, the supporters of this bill are highlighting the fact that Facebook, Microsoft and TechAmerica are supporting this bill.


However, this is a terrible bill for a variety of reasons. Even if we accept the mantra that new cybersecurity laws are needed (despite a near total lack of evidence to support this — and, no,fearmongering about planes falling from the sky doesn’t count), this bill has serious problems. As CDT warned when this bill first came out, it’s way too broad and overreaching:

However, the bill goes much further, permitting ISPs to funnel private communications and related information back to the government without adequate privacy protections and controls. The bill does not specify which agencies ISPs could disclose customer data to, but the structure and incentives in the bill raise a very real possibility that the National Security Agency or the DOD’s Cybercommand would be the primary recipient.

If it’s confusing to keep track of these different cybersecurity bills, the ACLU has put together ahandy dandy (scary) chart (pdf) comparing them all. And what comes through loud and clear is that the Rogers-Ruppersberger CISPA bill will allow for much greater information sharing of companies sending private communication data to the government — including the NSA, who has been trying very, very hard to get this data, not for cybersecurity reasons, but to spy on people. CISPA has broad definitions, very few limits on who can get the data, almost no limitations on how the government can use the data (i.e. they can use it to monitor, not just for cybersecurity reasons) and (of course) no real oversight at all for how the data is (ab)used.

CDT has put together a reasonable list of 8 things that should be done if politicians don’t want to turn cybersecurity into a new SOPA, but so far, Congress is ignoring nearly all of them. Similarly, EFF is asking people to speak out against CISPA, noting that it basically creates a cybersecurity exemption to all existing laws. If the government wants your data, it just needs to claim that it got it for “cybersecurity purposes” and then it can do pretty much whatever it wants.

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