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article imageOp-Ed: 'Zombie' CISPA passes US House of Representatives, next to Senate

By Anne Sewell     Apr 19, 2013 in Internet
Having risen from the "dead", the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protect Act (CISPA) is now heading towards the Senate after being passed by the US House of Representatives. Internet users are about to lose their privacy worldwide.
First there were huge Internet and street protests against SOPA, the Stop Online Piracy Act. Millions protested and the bill was dropped. Then there was an outcry over the very mention of CISPA. It rose, there were protests about it, it fizzled, everyone sighed with relief. Well now it's back with a vengeance.
Digital Journal reported in February on the threats to online privacy from this draconian bill. And the bill that would turn Google, Facebook, and Twitter into legally immune government spies just passed the House.
On Thursday afternoon, Congress passed CISPA with a vote of 288-to-127 to accept the bill. Next, it's on its merry way to the Senate and could then end up on the desk of US President Barack Obama for him to potentially sign the bill into law.
Now Obama's senior White House advisers did say that they would recommend the President veto the bill. However, since then the Boston bombings have happened, and anyway, President Obama has been known to quietly sign through legislation (like the NDAA), when no-one is really watching. So the thought of veto should not get anyone excited.
Here's a little of what was said by Rep. MikeMcCaul (R-Texas) to his congressional colleagues:
“Recent events in Boston demonstrate that we have to come together as Republicans and Democrats” in order to pass a bill that will strengthen national security, McCaul (R-Texas) said Thursday morning.
"In the case of Boston,” said McCaul, “there were real bombs.”
“In this case, they are digital bombs - and these digital bombs are on their way.”
And what's worse, some of these guys have absolutely no idea about the Internet or its security including another lawmaker, Rep. Dan Maffei (D-New York), who said CISPA was necessary to protect the US against “independent groups like WikiLeaks,” adding unfounded claims that the whistleblower website is “taking very aggressive measures to hack into” US computer networks.
And this one, Rep. Candice Miller (R-Michigan), who said on Wednesday that the bill "helps us fulfill every one of the responsibilities mandated on us by the US Constitution."
“I believe strongly that you should have constitutional concerns about not passing this bill,” said Rep. Miller.
Opponents to CISPA have already taken to the social media, including the Electronic Frontier Foundation who say that the House “shamefully” passed, “undermining the privacy of millions of Internet users.”
"CISPA is a poorly drafted bill that would provide a gaping exception to bedrock privacy law,” EFF Senior Staff Attorney Kurt Opsahl said. “While we all agree that our nation needs to address pressing Internet security issues, this bill sacrifices online privacy while failing to take common-sense steps to improve security."
The unofficial press office of Anonymous tweeted:
Tweet about CISPA from the Anonymous unofficial press office
Tweet about CISPA from the Anonymous unofficial press office
So now its back to square one. We are in the same position as we were last year with SOPA and we need to do something about this. This spring the largest online privacy protest in history is about to be launched against CISPA to make sure that the controversial and draconian bill goes the same route as SOPA.
CISPA affects everyone - not just U.S. citizens. Anyone with a Facebook account could now have their data shipped directly to the U.S. government. That's why Internet users overwhelmingly oppose this bill. Over 1.5 million people signed petitions against it last year. But Congress didn’t listen.
As Fight for the Future says, "CISPA threatens our most basic rights. Privacy is important not just for our security but for our rights to freedom of expression. The giant tech companies that stood with Internet users against SOPA are not going to help us this time (but some of the large sites like Mozilla, Imgur, and Reddit are all against CISPA and we love them)."
On their website they briefly list what is wrong with CISPA, and their web page includes links to more detail. They state that as it's written, CISPA won't protect us from cyber threats, but it will violate your 4th Amendment right to privacy:
It lets the government spy on you without a warrant.
It makes it so you can’t even find out about it after the fact.
It makes it so companies can’t be sued when they do illegal things with your data.
It allows corporations to cyber-attack each other and individuals outside of the law.
It makes every privacy policy on the web a moot point, and violates the 4th amendment.
So, if this worries you, get involved in the upcoming and biggest Internet freedom fight of all by signing up here.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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