Kiss the Fourth Amendment good-bye

Wow, I thought the vote was supposed to be today, but it looks like CISPA has already been rushed through the House.

The measure, which some are calling the Son of SOPA, allows internet service providers to share information with the government, including the Department of Homeland Security and the National Security Agency, about cybersecurity threats it detects on the internet. An ISP is not required to shield any personally identifying data of its customers when it believes it has detected threats, which include attack signatures, malicious code, phishing sites or botnets. In short, the measure seeks to undo privacy laws that generally forbid ISPs from disclosing customer communications with anybody else unless with a court order.

Orwell was off by a few years, but he had the right general idea. Big Brother is going to be watching you. Purely in your own best interests of course.



  1. Brony says

    Time for the internet to come for the rescue!

    Today’s tech savvy kids love their online social world and have a HUGE sense of entitlement. The government can never get a tool it can resist using. If Anonoymous gets pissed off you will quickly see all those tools that made CISPA “necessary” turn into weapons. Someone working for a paycheck is never as effective as an obsessive fan. This will not end well, but at least it wont be boring.

  2. Didaktylos says

    I don’t think there’s that much to worry about. Anything like this will gather data faster than it can be processed.

    • otrame says

      It would be nice to think that it would all go in “write-only” files (all hail Saint Pratchett, peace be upon him). Unfortunately there is this thing called data mining.

    • redpanda says

      I’m not so sure. Computers are getting faster, and algorithms are getting smarter and more efficient. I don’t doubt that the amount of data will also continue increasing, but I’m not convinced that the trends are parallel. I don’t think making a human overseer read and contemplate every e-mail that uses a terrorist-associated word will be the only way to do things in the reasonably near future.

    • Stevarious says

      I don’t think there’s that much to worry about. Anything like this will gather data faster than it can be processed.

      Faster than it can be processed properly. I’m sure they will be able to kludge something together that does a shitty job of catching criminals but does an excellent job of fingering non-criminals for no-fly lists based on some offhand facebook comment from 2010.

  3. says

    I had a minor panic attack last night before I remembered that bills have to pass both the House and Senate in the States before they get to the President’s sign-or-veto choice.

    Yes, I should know how this works by now, but sometimes, I still get flustered when things are looking particularly bad.

    And this is looking particularly bad. The few amendments that did pass, make it worse, by expanding the scope of the bill.

  4. redpanda says

    A fundamental weakness of democracy is that the majority tends to impose rule on the minority. The founders knew this, and special care was taken to protect the rights of the little guy. We’ve gotten better since then and extended those protections to new groups that originally didn’t have them (e.g. constitutional amendments 13, 14, 15, 19, etc.), but now we seem to have the opposite problem.

    Now we have minority special interest groups with lots of money and political power imposing their rule on the majority. Is it possible to get back to the idea that American government is “for the people, by the people?”

    Does it strike anyone else as seriously fucked up that if we don’t constantly stoke the flames of public-awareness campaigns against these bills, politicians will just keep writing the legislation under new names until we finally give up and they pass them? I expect that the majority of these jokers are still going to be sitting in their expensive leather chairs after the next election, and I think that’s a problem.

  5. Jim B says

    Brony, there are certainly youth who get it, but observing my own nephews (and they seem representative of today’s youth), they don’t give a damn about privacy. In fact, all of them seem to think they are half way to being movie stars and have no sense of what they are giving up by relinquishing privacy.

    Even before the facebook era, I was always scrubbing my sister’s computer of malware because her son’s would click every link, download with abandon, give away all sorts of private information to get a “free” game, etc.

    If it would double their facebook friend count, they would publish their credit card numbers.

    I wouldn’t count on the youth in general of putting up a fight over privacy.

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