CISPA And Your Privacy – Here We Go Again

CISPA is the Cybersecurity Intelligence Sharing Protection Act. Kevin Gosztola of FDL’s The Dissenter interviews Trevor Timm, representative of the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), and the basics are visible in the first exchange:

KEVIN GOSZTOLA, The Dissenter: Let’s start broadly first. I’d like to have you address why the Electronic Frontier Foundation and why you think privacy is so important.

TREVOR TIMM, EFF Activist: Privacy is especially important on the Internet cause of all the Internet we end up sending and receiving from each other and also to different companies and perhaps the government. A lot of the information that we have in our email boxes or our Facebook accounts aren’t necessarily protected by the same constitutional protections that protect letters and phone calls. This is because the Electronic Communications Privacy Act was written twenty-five years before email even existed and that’s what still governs what the government can and can’t take from companies and us about our information. And, the worst part about this bill CISPA – which stands for the Cyber Intelligence Sharing Protection Act – is that it essentially carves out a giant cybersecurity loophole into already watered-down protections for our communications. And what we’re really worried about is that companies will end up handing over large swaths of our emails, private messages on Facebook or Twitter, to the government with no judicial oversight.

And there you have it. Your [inserted: international] phone calls are already wiretapped without a warrant; now they want to do the same with your emails, your tweets, your online purchases, etc. The current wording is so vague and broad that literally anything someone in government or even a corporation chooses could be labeled “cyber threat intelligence” and subject to warrantless interception. Believe me, Rep. Mike Rogers (R) and his approximately 100 House cosponsors intend you no good with this bill. The House vote is scheduled for Apr. 23… a week from today as I write this on Monday. The above-linked piece by Gosztola and Timm has links to an EFF FAQ about CISPA and an action center to oppose the bill. (One clever bit is a hashtag, #CongressTMI, i.e., Too Much Information, to which you can tweet literally your every activity for a day, to show the consequences burdensome to real security of intercepting literally everything.)

SOPA/PIPA may be dead, but the battle for fundamental online privacy protection… the degree of privacy protection we all enjoy legally and constitutionally in postal mail and (theoretically) phone calls… is nowhere nearly won. Here’s Trevor Timm of EFF again:

… Basic privacy practices like using an anonymization service like Tor to hide your location or identity or even encrypting your emails could be considered a threat under the Senate bills. …

Here we go again…

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