CISPA and Why

stop cispa

Looks like someone is always trying to hack into personal information and encourage some bills to get passed in law. Previously there're SOPA and PIPA and finally blacked out by the efforts of many people. Now the threat is passed, but have you ever heard another bill called CISPA? Should we support or against it?

What's CISPA? Here's a good writing and explanation from arvixe blog posting:

CISPA is the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act and it actually passed through the House of Representatives on April 26th.

While SOPA focused more on copyright issues, CISPA aims to “track cyber threats.” The bill allows for government agencies and private companies to all be allowed to share private information about cyber threats. No one can deny that cyber threats have certainly been on the rise. We live in a world where most of our daily activities and private information is online, so criminals and vandals have turned towards the Internet to achieve their goals. While CISPA actually does have the potential of being a good thing, the question simply becomes: “what is considered a ‘cyber threat’?”

With CISPA, a cyber threat is anything that makes “efforts to degrade, disrupt or destroy” vital networks. Also, a cyber threat could be anything that can be taken as a “threat or misappropriation” towards information that is privately owned or owned by the government.

CISPA does not force any private company to share any information. CISPA only allows for companies to share their users’ information. So why would any company choose to disclose the information of its users to any other company or the government? Well, with SOPA, business interests were put at risk. However, CISPA doesn’t threaten the business interests of any company. On the contrary, CISPA actually rewards companies for sharing this information with the government! It also includes clauses that would allow the company to be free from any legal charges if they do choose to share their users’ information. For these reasons, several companies such as Facebook, AT&T, Verizon and Microsoft are supporting CISPA.

So although CISPA seems to have some good intentions and may seem to fight off the threat of cyber attacks, just like SOPA and PIPA, the language in the bill is extremely vague. The vagueness included makes this bill a threat to every single Internet user. The government or any private company basically has free access to all of your information. Worst of all, if they choose to share your information, it will all be “proprietary.” That means that you will never know what information has been shared. Your information can include (but is not limited to) your names, addresses, phone numbers, and all of your Internet activity.

CISPA has a very broad, almost unlimited definition of the information that can be shared with government agencies and it supersedes all other privacy laws” said the Center for Democracy and Technology. As the Electronic Frontier Foundation pointed out, companies would be able to “use cybersecurity systems to identify and obtain cyber threat information to protect the rights and property of such protected entity.” They could use these excuses to “protect” themselves from “cyber threats.” Then these companies that have just shared all of your private information would have immunity from lawsuits if they have exercised these rights “under good faith.”

Although this bill passed (almost silently) through the House of Representatives, it must still go through the Senate and Obama’s desk. The Senate might vote out the bill and Obama might veto it, especially if we tell them to! If you want your representatives to know that you are against CISPA, there are several places on the Internet where you can help to stop CISPA. One of these places is PrivacyIsAwesome.com. The Senate may vote on CISPA as early as June. Do your part in fighting this bill.

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