CISPA facing amendments

The International Business Times is reporting some possible good news on the individual liberties front.

The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act [CISPA] is the greatest potential threat to Internet freedom and privacy currently before the U.S. Congress, and many critics have been warning in recent weeks that it has the potential to do even more harm to Internet privacy than the Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect IP Act would have done.

As such, the House is reigning in the bill in order to address some of the privacy concerns that have been raised by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT), millions of petition-signers and other opponents around the globe.

We need to keep the pressure on, because there are a number of business and political interests that could make substantial profits if certain legal protections were stripped away from us. Attacks like SOPA and CISPA are going to continue, just like creationism. Our only hope is constant vigilance.


  1. mikespeir says

    Why are we so concerned about this? I don’t mean superficially. I mean, why are we so worried about privacy? What are the pros and cons of privacy? Why the almost instinctual impulse to maintain a degree of privacy?

  2. d cwilson says


    The reasons for wanting privacy vary with the individual. Some people just might not feel comfortable having things like their health problems broadcast around the world, especially if it were something considered embarrassing, such as rectal warts or herpes. Others might be afraid that certain private details could harm their career or business interests. In one of the other blogs here, there was a story about a teacher who was fired from her job at a Catholic school because the bishop found out she was undergoing fertility treatments. A local businessman living in a conservative area might not want people to know he has a shoe fetish or frequents the services of a dominatrix. There’s still a lot of stigma associated with mental illness as well. Just knowing someone is under going treatment for depression can be damaging in certain circles. And most people wouldn’t want their therapist talking about things said in session, especially not to the people who might be cause of their stress.

    There are all kinds of reasons people might want to keep things private.

  3. RW Ahrens says


    More to the point, privacy allows us to have conversations and/or correspondance with friends, family, colleagues, business associates and others about subjects we do not want to share, such as our sex lives, our financial affairs, gossip about others or, more importantly, politics and business matters.

    Having private matters aired publicly can get one fired, thrown out of a rich relative’s will, alienated from family and friends, or, at the extreme end, lose a business or even get arrested.

    Privacy is at the core of our liberty. It is the freedom to conduct one’s affairs without interference from our government, and is enshrined in the 4th Amendment as a protection from unreasonable searches and seizures.

    We are in the middle of a period of rapid technological advancement, it’ll take a while for the law to catch up with technology, which is what this is all about.

  4. Franklin says

    mikespeir, the two posters above me said it better, but the core question is, do you want the entire world knowing everything about you and your goings-on? To put it another way: taking a shower is in no way shameful, but most people don’t do it outdoors in front of everyone.

  5. mikespeir says

    Okay, here’s my take. In my view it’s all about survival, so it’s all about security. More practically, it’s all about escaping our feelings of insecurity. We’re all a little skittish, a little on edge, always looking over our shoulders. We’ve have to be that way in order to survive. If we hadn’t developed the propensity to jump at the unexpected snap of a twig or muffled roar–even sometimes when there was no real threat–we would have been bear or tiger food millennia ago. But it’s uncomfortable. We’re always trying to escape it. We take two main routes in our flight from it: we seek to make ourselves more secure (power-seeking) and we try to anesthetize ourselves to our insecurities (masking our insecurities with chemicals, overriding them with more positive emotions, convincing ourselves there’s Big Guy up in the sky looking out for us, etc.).

    The desire for privacy probably borrows a little from both. It’s a lot like our thirst for freedom, for rights. We wish to sign a contract with other members of our species whereby we agree that there are certain lines we won’t cross. A man’s home is is castle, we say. His fortress. A place where he feels secure. It’s not that it’s impenetrable; it’s that we’ve agreed that penetrating it without his permission will bring on serious societal repercussions. You can’t threaten my security without placing your own in jeopardy, so you generally choose to behave yourself.

    So things like the topic under consideration probably ramify more psychologically than practically in our society. With an assurance of privacy comes a sense of security, whether we’re actually more secure in the end or not. That’s probably why the powers that be are always touting security concerns as the reasons for intruding into our privacy. They’re trying to make us believe we’re more secure in their hands than in our own. After all, that’s what this whole area of self-determination is about: the freedom to see to our own well-being.

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