UGH – and I’m in the middle of End-of-the-Semester-crunch! I can’t share as much detail here as I would have preferred, given the stack of assignments I’m trying to prepare for the last few weeks of the semester, but this is too important to not post on at all!
On Thursday, April 26, 2012, the House of the US Federal Government passed CISPA (Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act; H.R. 3523), sending it on to the Senate for further consideration.This is the newest attempt by government officials to place regulations on the internet while simultaneously impinging on civil liberties.
This bill, supposedly drafted as a means of preventing and safeguarding against cyberattacks (so said Michigan Representative Mike Rogers – Republican), has provoked large numbers of objections from the American populous, Cyber Security Experts, and a host of other actors in response to its vague language (i.e. the term ‘cyber threat information’ and other terms which will actually permit organizations seeking information to bypass preexisting legislation that was drafted to protect personal data accumulation and dumping ) and disregard for the treatment of personal information (there are no provisions for anonymizing information when sharing between telco-companies or any other third party). In fact, the Obama Administration has even threatened to veto this bill in an issued statement on Wednesday; dubbing the bill ineffective in protecting the nation while protecting personal privacy rights.
From an international perspective, the ratification of this bill will certainly have far-reaching implications. For starters, the language of CISPA is broad enough to include both domestic AND foreign communications. Aside from slipping in that little piece of SOPA, the ratification of CISPA would also provide precedence for other regimes to base their own versions of such legislations on.
What can you do?
If you’re a citizen of the US, you can go to the EFF website here and send a message to your local Representative and State Senators.
Not a US citizen but still want to contribute? Avaaz is also taking signatures for it’s online petition for non-US protesters.
EFF also has a comprehensive list of other US organisations currently campaigning against CISPA.
CISPA bill text
Down With CISPA – Foreign Policy, April 27, 2012.
ACLU Blog entries concerning CISPA.
Recent publications from EFF on CISPA.