Passage Of CISPA Legalizes Already Common Cyber Surveillance Practices

So it looks like the cyber security bill CISPA is pointless, aside from giving federal agencies and private companies legal cover for already existing practices.

The online activist group Electronic Privacy Information centre has obtained documents through the Freedom of Information Act which detail a “collaboration between the defence Department, the Department of Homeland Security, and private companies to allow government monitoring of private Internet networks.”

Basically, the Obama administration publicly threatens to veto CISPA — citing privacy concerns — while privately granting immunity to companies like AT&T as they collaborate with government agencies to evade wiretapping laws.

The administration has issued an unknown amount of “2511” Wiretap Act immunity letters to internet providers, essentially making existing law nul and void.

Natashe Lennard of Salon writes, “As such, in light of EPIC’s findings, CISPA, like the NDAA, can be seen to retroactively inscribe into law activity the government has already been carrying out in secret.”

CNET’s Declan McCullagh likens the revelation to John Yoo’s torture memos more than 10 years ago: 

Paul Rosenzweig, a former Homeland Security official and founder of Red Branch Consulting, compared the NSA and DOD asking the Justice Department for 2511 letters to of the CIA asking the Justice Department for the so-called torture memos a decade ago. (They were written by Justice Department official John Yoo, who reached the controversial conclusion that waterboarding was not torture.)

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