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Apr 19 2012

Meet the new internet power grab, same as the old one.

Ladies and gentlemen, I cordially introduce you to the new Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, or CISPA, sponsored by Mike Rogers (R-MI).

I suspect that in name and in deed, it will remind you a great deal of SOPA and PIPA, the two bills we barely defeated by shutting down half the internet in protest. Only, see, this one is actually WORSE. If you can even believe it.

So, say the government thought you were discussing a cybersecurity threat or IP theft — such as illegal file sharing somehow related to cybersecurity — on Facebook. The bill would not force Facebook to hand you over to the feds, yet CISPA does make it so that Facebook will be completely unrestricted (say, by your rights) to cooperate with Homeland Security to the fullest extent.

The so-called “cybersecurity bill” lets the US government into any online communication if it believes there is reason to suspect cyber crime, or a threat of intellectual property theft. The bill defines “cybersecurity systems” and “cyber threat information” as anything related to protecting networks from:

‘(A) efforts to degrade, disrupt, or destroy such system or network; or ‘(B) theft or misappropriation of private or government information, intellectual property, or personally identifiable information.

“Cybersecurity” is not actually defined in the bill.

Emphasis mine. And if I could make it blink, I would.

See, this is another salvo in the international CopyFight, never mind all the pretensions toward “national cyber security”. It’s almost certainly not about security at all. It’s about granting sweeping powers to the US government to shut down or target any website that publishes anything they don’t like. And it’s worded so overbroadly that it applies both to the CopyFight, and the fight for warrantless internet wiretapping.

Given that they’re so indebted financially to the content middleman industry, it’s no wonder the proposed law grants such Draconian powers to your government in order to exact righteous retribution against people deemed to be infringing on copyright. And because “national security” is the first recourse in a sweeping power grab, it’s also no wonder they’ve cloaked this particular power grab in these exact terms.

CISPA currently has support from over 100 representatives in the House. It’s going to the House the week of April 23, and the EFF has this online tool where you can contact your representative and tell them to stop this. Now. Before congressmen with bloodthirst get to make laws that erode our online rights to avenge their personally driven, twisted sense of duty.

Make your Congress aware that we’ve not forgotten their last power grab with SOPA. Make them realize that the internet is off limits for their lust for power, and that any attempt at such will simply a) ruin the public tier of the internet, and b) drive its users to create a further unregulated and unregulateable morass of encryption and peer-to-peer communications dependent on international servers that are out of their jurisdiction.

Seriously, guys. You’re looking more and more like a fascist state the more you try to control what users do on the internet. Cut it the hell out. Emulating China shouldn’t be so damn high on your priority list.

10 comments

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  1. 1
    CompulsoryAccount7746, Sky Captain

    Make your Congress aware that we’ve not forgotten their last power grab with SOPA.

    What if our representatives have a strong record of voting with the money?

  2. 2
    sithrazer

    Just once I would like to not be embarrassed by the actions of my state’s congresscritters.

  3. 3
    JT Eberhard

    Snorked.

    What’s your take on doing something like this (the boycotting)?

    JT

  4. 4
    Jason Thibeault

    My take is, hell yes. We did it for SOPA, we can do it for CISPA.

  5. 5
    Greg Laden

    You can’t make text blink?

  6. 6
    Jason Thibeault

    Not in valid HTML, but I guess I could use an animated gif.

  7. 7
    Jeff Sherry

    Boycotting and contacting our reps are actions that seem to work.

  8. 8
    Aliasalpha

    And if I could make it blink, I would.

    now THAT’S a cybersecurity threat! At least use a marquee!

  9. 9
    sumdum

    I heard elsewhere that while the industry stood on our side against SOPA and PIPA, because it also threatened their freedom, this time they are actually in favor of the bill. Either way, I believe the powers that be will keep pushing this bill, or the next, or the one after that, until one gets through. They simply won’t accept no for an answer, there’s way too much money at stake. Excuse my pessimism.

  10. 10
    Hausdorff

    I’m sad to say I completely agree with what sumdum said. The sopa/pipa thing was huge and it still barely worked, and people are busy, lazy and tired. If we manage to get everyone riled up again and defeat this one there will just be yet another around the corner.

    I’d like to think if it happens a few times people would start to get angry at the politicians but if my facebook feed is any indication people are just as likely to get mad the the people pointing out how terrible this is.

    I really hope I’m wrong.

  1. 11
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