Internet Censorship Bill, CISPA, Will Allow Companies To Abuse User Privacy With Immunity
Quite a few people are comparing CIPSA to SOPA but the truth is CIPSA is much different and a lot worse. CISPA is supported by major companies like Facebook, Google, Twitter, and major ISP’s like Verizon and AT&T.
The Bill overrides existing laws and allows corporations to give unlimited information to the government like stored data, private emails, web history, downloads, etc. without legal accountability.
Rep. Rogers is adamant that the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) is an information “sharing” bill. But despite the bill’s title and Rep. Rogers’ assurances, the bill is also a surveillance bill:
- Its broad definitions allow private companies to monitor network traffic and stored data—including private email—and transfer such private data to the government or others with virtually no oversight or legal accountability. This lack of oversight and accountability stems from the sweeping immunities provided to companies, which bypass long-standing privacy law.
- Under CISPA, private companies may spy on user communications, whether stored or in transit, and freely pass personal information to the government as long as they claim a vague “cybersecurity” exception.
- As long as companies act in “good faith” and the collection is for a “cybersecurity purpose”—a purpose as vague as protecting or securing any network from degradation or disruption—there are no limits on what type of information can be intercepted and shared.
- The bill also creates expansive legal immunity that makes companies and the government largely unaccountable to users.
- If a company learns about a security flaw, fails to fix it, and users’ information is misused or stolen, companies cannot beheld liable as long as the company acted “in good faith” according to CISPA.
- Companies “acting in good faith” are also excused from all liability for engaging in potential counter measures, even if they hurt innocent parties.
- CISPA grants surveillance power to private entities “not withstanding any other provision of law,” which may nullify existing rights to sue under laws such as the Wiretap Act, the Stored Communications Act, and the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act.
- Combined with the bill’s broad “good faith” immunity, this scheme attacks our long-held legal traditions that create checks and balances through independent judicial oversight.
If CISPA passes, companies lose any legally based incentive to protect user privacy.
“The CIA panicked because the subjects of CIA torture were learning the identities of their torturers. DOJ did an investigation to see whether any crime had been committed, and determined it hadn’t. CIA then started politicizing that decision, which led to [Patrick] Fitzgerald’s appointment. Fitzgerald confirmed what DOJ originally determined: the defense attorneys committed no crime by researching who their clients’ torturers were. But along the way Fitzgerald gave the CIA a head–John Kiriakou’s–based partly on old investigations of him. And, surprise surprise, that head happens to belong to the only CIA officer who publicly broke the omerta about the torture program. This entire case was an attempt to punish someone to restore the omerta on CIA’s illegal activities.”—
n. A rule or code that prohibits speaking or divulging information about certain activities, especially the activities of a criminal organization.