FOSS uber-guru Richard Stallman on CISPA: “nearly abolishes” 4th Amendment

Russia Times interviewed Richard M. Stallman — the guy who in many folks’ estimation singlehandedly made the “greybeard” meme — on CISPA, and here’s what he had to say.

A choice quote:

If you store any data in a US company, that company – with few exceptions – is legally required to hand that data over to US government without even a search warrant, so I think both individuals and governments should take precautions to make sure that their citizens’ data is not being handed over to US companies or their foreign subsidiaries, which are also subject to that same hypocritically named Patriot Act.

This naturally means that I am opening myself to all manner of privacy violations by blogging on a US-hosted network. Yes, CISPA still has to pass the Senate, and the veto pen, but that’s small consolation given Obama’s less than stellar record on civil liberties. I consider the Senate to be the Maginot Line for this one.

Hat tip Greg Laden, who has so many blogs of his own, yet he still had to throw me this red meat.

Rush vote on CISPA passes. The US can now legally spy on anyone using the internet. (EDIT: okay, not the Senate.)

Damn it all. I was writing a link round-up about all the to-and-fro in the CISPA sausage-making and all the good news I’d heard, when I got the news — Mike Rogers (R-MI) got it put to a last-second rush vote at the end of the day and it passed as-is, rejecting all proposed amendments, scuttling everything I had written.

[I]t would usher in a new era of information sharing between companies and government agencies — with limited oversight and privacy safeguards. The House Rules committee yesterday rejected a series of modestly pro-privacy amendments, which led a coalition of civil-liberties groups to complain that “amendments that are imperative won’t even be considered” in a letter today.

That prompted some politicians, including House Intelligence Committee member Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), to reluctantly oppose the bill. Schiff said that because his proposed amendments were rejected, he had to vote against CISPA “due to my concerns about civil liberties and the privacy of Americans.”

What made CISPA so controversial is a section saying that, “notwithstanding any other provision of law,” companies may share information with Homeland Security, the IRS, the NSA, or other agencies. By including the word “notwithstanding,” CISPA’s drafters intended to make their legislation trump all existing federal and state laws, including ones dealing with wiretaps, educational records, medical privacy, and more.

Emphasis mine.

The White House has outright stated that advisors would tell the President to veto the bill should it pass without those now-rejected safeguards in place. Granted, I don’t have a lot of faith that Obama’s administration is necessarily on the side of the angels on this one, but at least there’s some pretense that they are trying to do right by us common folk. Maybe, MAYBE, Obama will kill this bill. Then again, he probably won’t want to look soft on cyberterrorism, so I’m sure the last vestiges of privacy will be signed away in due course.

Previous coverage at my blog — you know, in case you’re curious as to just how horrible this is.

Edit: Right, right, it has to pass the senate too. So there’s two hurdles for it to clear yet.

CISPA marches onward with precious little fanfare or opposition

What happens when the government wants to fire a salvo in the copyright war that will, as a function of its broadside, accidentally break the foundation of the internet? Everyone gets upset, from the common folk to the mass media — because, see, everyone uses the internet. Thus, SOPA and PIPA died.

What happens when a whole lot of companies and a whole lot of House representatives want to push a bill that serves as another (more stealthy) salvo in that same copyright war, which indemnifies companies against being sued for any privacy violation that happens when the government demands personal information about customers without a warrant, allowing a completely legal totalitarian Big Brother state that extends far beyond the borders of the state in question? Apparently nothing — because, see, evidently nobody gives a shit about privacy.
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Vic Toews: Gun registries are invasion of privacy. Internet snooping is great though!

During the Conservative fight to fool everyone into believing the long gun registry is a bad idea, one of the most frequent and most proximate reasons the CPC and their spambot flaks gave for dismantling and bonfiring the database was that it served as an invasion of privacy that allowed the government too much insight into its citizens’ lives by telling them who had guns and where. One of the folks touting this line was Public Safety Minister Vic Toews, who primarily expressed concern that an NDP or Liberal government would get their hands on that info.

He said then, “In order to protect the privacy of law-abiding, long gun owners, those whom that member and his party subjected to gross violations of their privacy, records held by the Canadian firearms program on currently registered long guns will be destroyed.”

Fast forward a few months, and Vic Toews has introduced the Tories’ newest salvo on freedom in bill C30, the Protecting Children from Internet Predators Act.
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