The Necessary Fight Against CISPA For Internet Freedom
On May 31, 2012, 5:02 PM by Nima Desai
CISPA’s passing would threaten individual rights, and that is something America cannot afford.
Despite the harsh public outcry that surrounded SOPA, Congress’s recently introduced CISPA (Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act), represents the newest manifestation of protecting corporate profits at the expense of individual liberty.
Since Congress has a long history of making itself available to the highest bidder, it comes as no surprise that the House of Representatives quietly passed CISPA in late April. But apparently President Obama noticed it and had the sense to explicitly state that he would veto CISPA if the bill ever got to his desk.
Your private data is at stake
In its essence, CISPA is a blank check to Internet companies that would allow them to trade in a very valuable commodity: YOU. As drafted, CISPA will grant private companies the power to monitor and collect any user’s information that they believe poses a threat to their networks or systems. The bill would also allow these companies to share their gathered information with the National Security Agency (NSA) and other federal agencies like the Department of Homeland Security (DHS).
If CISPA were made into law, private corporations would be permitted to seize personal data and hand it over to the government if they believe an individual posed a security threat. This information would then be given to the federal government without any due process—like the issuing of a warrant—–which is in direct violation of the 4th Amendment. So after violating your basic freedoms, private corporations would be able to trade your personal data with the government like baseball cards.
In a world of invasive online data aggregators and marketing-on-steroids, you should already know what the private sector is capable of and how they can make you feel. We are all familiar with that eerie sensation when you realize that Facebook advertisers have a direct pipeline into your personal data and market themselves to you accordingly.
Perhaps CISPA serves an important security function too technically or politically complex for average citizens to understand. You might wonder then, if CISPA is going to be something like other recent privacy-encroaching security measures enacted by the government. Like the TSA, will CISPA grope us gently under the auspices of providing a secure America?
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