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CISPA-like Cyber Security Bill Coming to a Vote in U.S. Senate Soon

You might have noticed the internet blackout day back on January 18 when over 7,000 sites went dark in protest of the proposed SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act). Recently another form of legislation has emerged, that while similarly controversial, is different than SOPA in several ways. This one is called CISPA.

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If you haven’t heard of CISPA (Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act), it’s a bill that is designed to allow private companies to lawfully share data with the U.S. governments much easier. The bill passed congress but was threatened with a veto from the Obama administration and didn’t garnish much support in the Senate. As a result, the senate has created bill s.2105 titled the Cyber Security Act (CSA).

What does this mean? The terms in the merged bill are too ambiguous to be absolutely sure how it will be interpreted. But many, like Sen. Ron Wyden believe that “these bills will encourage the development of a cyber security industry that profits from fear and whose currency is Americans private data.” According to the ACLU (who wrote an easy-to-understand outline concerning how the bill affects privacy), says this bill “creates an exception to every privacy law on the books so that companies that hold our sensitive personal information can share it with the government, including possibly the military.”

As a reaction to the new bill several consumer awareness groups as well as a good portion of the Reddit and Facebook community have joined together in creating a website called Privacy is Awesome. This site features a step-by-step guide on how to proactively oppose the CSA bill by contacting state senators currently listed as being in favor of it. According to Privacy is Awesome, the vote is expected to go through the senate sometime in early June.

In additional response to bills like SOPA, CISPA, and CSA, some activists of such bills have partnered together to create a new site that will act as a Bat signal of the internet“Bat-Signal for the Internet.” Reddit founder Alexis Ohanian, as well as advocacy group, Fight for the Future, and Cloudflare are among founders of their proposed “Internet Defense League.”

This new organization aims to bring together various websites and individuals all over the world in an effort to defend against bad internet laws and monopolies. When such a law or danger comes into vision, “the League will ask its members to broadcast an action.  (Say, a prominent message asking everyone to call their elected leaders.)”

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4 Responses to CISPA-like Cyber Security Bill Coming to a Vote in U.S. Senate Soon

  1. Zordon May 26, 2012 at 10:35 am #

    Who is writing these bills? It seems like it’s a constant onslaught from congress to try and ruin the internet.

  2. Dave May 26, 2012 at 11:30 am #

    From my UK viewpoint, I have seriously begun to doubt the sanity of USA politicians (not to mention our own UK bright sparks). The ones across the pond seem to to have a policy of throwing “internet control” bills into the mix in a somewhat ad hoc fashion, in the hope that at least one or two get through without the public noticing just how much their privacy and personal liberties are being eroded. Do they not appreciate that their insane moves also apply to them? Do they also not mind being subjected to surveillance at every step, not to mention an equal amount of internet censorship and lack of privacy? We’re all living on the same planet, for goodness’ sake! Why is there so much “them and us” these days. Smells a lot to me of that wonderful Americanese word – “grandstanding”. Politicians should also brush up on the technical aspects of the net, as it seems most of them have not got the foggiest idea of what might be involved in…….er…….”filtering”. Our own David Cameron, for one, seems hell-bent on using the old phrase “protecting the children” to justify network filters (plain old censoring to you and I) that would cost a fortune to try and implement and probably wouldn’t work properly in any case, being by-passed very easily, I have no doubt. Another technically clueless politician! I despair.

  3. Aaron Ashtin May 26, 2012 at 12:52 pm #

    It’s a sad day indeed when companies, consumers, and organizations have to band together to fight against the politicians that are supposed to be representing the people. It’s even sadder that many of the those powerful enough to stop this (Google, Apple, News Corp, Facebook) stand idly by, or are even in support of laws that invade upon the civil liberties of not only their employees, but their stock holders as well.

  4. Brian Burgess May 26, 2012 at 9:41 pm #

    The RIAA MPAA and other industry lobbying groups have a lot of power. Unfortunately, we as tech enthusiasts and proponents of a Free and Open Internet, have to constantly monitor bills and see what they are sneaking in. Plus none of them know anything about technology…

    My biggest fear is they slicksters will include some sort of PIPA, SOPA, CISPA, CSA rider in a military budget bill or something similar…then there will be no stopping it.

    @Aaron Ashtin: Yes it is a sad state of affairs. Thankfully we have powerful organizations like the EFF on our side. https://www.eff.org/

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