Never mind that no cyber threat has been proven, or even appears imminent, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, or CISPA, which many say is just the reincarnation of the failed SOPA bill, passed a rules vote in the House of Representatives today by a count of 248 to 168.
“This bill in its current form… is an unprecedented, sweeping piece of legislation that would waive every single privacy law ever enacted in the name of cybersecurity,” Rep. Jared Polis (D-Colo.)
The vote clears the way for a full vote likely to take place today. Facing a veiled veto threat by president Obama because the bill doesn’t do enough to protect civil liberties, CISPA is said to be potentially worse for Internet free speech and activism.
The much maligned SOPA bill was intended to give the government the authority to close down and seize domains over suspected copyright infringement. While CISPA is more geared toward private companies sharing information concerning “threats” with the government, thus eliminating user privacy.
However, the language in CISPA is so broad that it may actually accomplish both of the government’s objectives. Because CISPA defines “cyber threat intelligence” to include “theft or misappropriation of private or government information” and “intellectual property”, it essentially gives the government the same authority as SOPA would have.
As presidential candidate and defender of liberty, Ron Paul, stated CISPA is the new SOPA. He wrote:
Simply put, CISPA encourages some of our most successful Internet companies to act as government spies, sewing distrust in social media and chilling communications in one segment of the world economy where Americans still lead.
Imagine having government-approved employees embedded at Facebook, complete with federal security clearances, serving as conduits for secret information about their American customers.If you believe in privacy and free markets, you should be deeply concerned about the proposed marriage of government intelligence gathering with private, profit-seeking companies.
Many large companies opposed SOPA which was a large reason why it failed. Yet, CISPA appears to have broad support of those same corporations because they’re given immunity from prosecutions of privacy violations.
As Ron Paul said “CISPA represents an alarming form of corporatism, as it further intertwines government with companies like Google and Facebook…grants them broad immunity from lawsuits for doing so, leaving you without recourse for invasions of privacy.”
Although many civil liberty groups are united against CISPA, the support by these corporations may indicate its eventual passage. After all, it’s clear that corporate voices are the only ones that the government listens to.
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