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CISPA Is Back With A Vengeance

First introduced in the House of Representatives in 2011, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) is once again back in play and is being considered for legislative action this month. Much of the same concerns that accompanied its introduction in 2011 remain specifically that it is a blank check for cybersurveillance dressed up as a bill to promote cybersecurity.

The earlier version of both SOPA and CISPA were defeated due in part to staunch opposition from numerous corners of the internet. CISPA initially contained language that included intellectual property issues as falling under the act making it essentially SOPA-light.

CISPA and its Senate equivalent the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) are being reintroduced in hopes of capitalizing on public anxiety related to recent high profile hacks such as those of Target and Sony. The bills claim to only promote information sharing between companies and the government but in reality will expand government and private surveillance power over the public.

The Open Technology Institute notes six problems with the current CISA bill now under consideration:

  1. CISA would authorize excessive information sharing, including unnecessary sharing of personal information.
  2. CISA Would Require DHS to automatically and indiscriminately disseminate to the NSA all indicators it receives.
  3. Law enforcement agencies are authorized to use CISA-derived information to investigate a wide array of garden-variety crimes.
  4. CISA authorizes companies to monitor all of their users’ activities and communications.
  5. CISA’s liability protections leave customers no recourse if they are wrongly harmed by information sharing and monitoring.
  6. CISA authorizes companies to deploy potentially dangerous defensive measures that could harm the computers of innocent people, and contains worrisome language regarding military cyber operations.

As often happens with abuses of power and corruption in America, Congress wants to legalize the behavior. If the bill passes domestic spying will not be a scandal but a codified status quo.

And as for defensive measures, well don’t worry, the US military is already gearing up for “offensive operations in cyberspace.” The world is a battlefield and now so is the internet. Are you the enemy?

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Dan Wright

Dan Wright

Daniel Wright is a longtime blogger and currently writes for Shadowproof. He lives in New Jersey, by choice.