I’ll be back on RT America today to discuss CISPA’s not-so-shocking passage in the House. (Watch David’s last appearance discussing CISPA below.)
Total surveillance of the people is what Congress ultimately wants, so it is no surprise that this is apparently a top legislative priority for them — even at a time when 1 out of every 2 recent college graduates face unemployment. Even at a time when our total public debt is above $15 trillion.
How bad is CISPA in its current form? Here’s some analysis from Techdirt: “Up until this afternoon, the final vote on CISPA was supposed to be tomorrow. Then, abruptly, it was moved up today—and the House voted in favour of its passage with a vote of 248-168. But that’s not even the worst part. […] Previously, CISPA allowed the government to use information for ‘cybersecurity’ or ‘national security’ purposes. Those purposes have not been limited or removed. Instead, three more valid uses have been added: investigation and prosecution of cybersecurity crime, protection of individuals, and protection of children. Cybersecurity crime is defined as any crime involving network disruption or hacking, plus any violation of the CFAA.”
Let me put this into perspective for you:
– If the government suspects you are a genuine “bad guy,” like a cyberterrorist, human trafficker, drug kingpin, etc… they can already seize all of this online activity information about you. It’s called obtaining a warrant. CISPA does away with that. It supercedes ALL existing federal privacy laws. As Techdirt’s Leigh Beadon put it, “Basically it says the 4th Amendment does not apply online, at all. Moreover, the government could do whatever it wants with the data as long as it can claim that someone was in danger of bodily harm, or that children were somehow threatened—again, notwithstanding absolutely any other law that would normally limit the government’s power.”
– Online banking and trading: dead as we know it. Who is going to use online banking services, knowing that anyone from a local police department snoop, to a federal spy agency, to even random private companies might be watching your every trade, and your purchase history, without a warrant or court involvement of ANY kind.
– The ‘adult entertainment’ industry: dead as we know it. Big Brother is watching you. If CISPA becomes law, which it appears on the fast-track to do, who will watch knowing that others are watching you.
– Online health databases and discussion forums such as WebMD: dead as we know it. Who will ask intimate health questions, knowing that your identity is not even semi-anonymous any more?
– Online suicide helplines, depression forums, political discussion communities: dead as we know it. Same reason as above.
– Legitimate criticism of the government: dead as we know it, especially if you are a “job seeker” who doesn’t want any blemishes on your record to get in the way of surviving.
– Online communities like Reddit: dead as we know it. So much for the semi-anonymous, crowdsourced hivemind brilliance of multi-million user social communities.
– Facebook: dead as we know it (although they don’t seem to care). Who will use the service, knowing that countless other companies could be watching and logging every profile and photo you view, every message you send or receive, and every connection you’ve ever made…
Again, allow me to stress the fact that CISPA enables snooping without a warrant or court involvement. It is absolutely ludicrous insanity. The minds behind this in Congress should be forced to resign, immediately — they are acting in the interests of weird lobbying groups and defence contractors. They aren’t acting in the interests of Internet users, the economy, nor even the health of the Internet itself.
For those hoping President Obama will wave his veto pen and make this nightmare go away: remain vigilant. He also issued a veto threat on NDAA, and then reversed that, signing it into law on New Year’s Eve with almost no media attention given to it. This President, and all future Presidents, now have the ability to order the U.S. military to imprison American citizens, without trial nor access to an attorney.
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