Wednesday, April 17, 2013

House May Vote On CISPA Today

Zombie Bill
(far right)
It's the Return of the Undead: CISPA, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, passed in one version by the Republican-dominated House of Representatives about a year ago, is up for a vote in another version (at least no better than the original).

The House Rules Committee, chaired by Republican Rep. Pete Sessions (Asshole-TX), voted along party lines to remove an amendment with bipartisan support (but not in the committee) that would have allowed companies to make, and to be obligated to keep, privacy promises, including terms-of-use agreements and privacy agreements.

Even President Obama is sufficiently exercised about this bill to threaten to veto it. According to Declan McCullagh of CNET (see above link), the House will nonetheless debate the bill today, but thanks to Sessions and other Republicans on the Rules Committee, the aforementioned amendment will not even get a vote by the full House. Now that's freedum-'n'-duhmocracy for you, Republican style.

All of this Republican fearmongering is in the Holy Name of National Security. Here is a good summary of last year's bill; here's an excerpt from that summary:

CISPA would "waive every single privacy law ever enacted in the name of cybersecurity," Rep. Jared Polis, a Colorado Democrat and onetime Web entrepreneur, said during the debate. "Allowing the military and NSA to spy on Americans on American soil goes against every principle this country was founded on."

Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and author of CISPA, responded by telling his colleagues to ignore "all the things they're saying about the bill that are not true." He pleaded: "Stand for America! Support this bill!"

While CISPA initially wasn't an especially partisan bill -- it cleared the House Intelligence Committee by a vote of 17 to 1 last December -- it gradually moved in that direction. The final tally was 206 Republicans voting for it, and 28 opposed. Of the Democrats, 42 voted for CISPA and 140 were opposed. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said afterward on Twitter that CISPA "didn't strike the right balance" and Republicans "didn't allow amendments to strengthen privacy protections."

The ACLU, on the other hand, told CNET that the amendments -- even if they had been allowed -- would not have been effective. "They just put the veneer of privacy protections on the bill, and will garner more support for the bill even without making substantial changes," said Michelle Richardson, legislative counsel for the ACLU.


That was last year, and not much has changed. The zombie bill is back. Your
privacy is at risk. CISPA underlines the government's "right" to engage in online surveillance against its own citizens, without a warrant and (IMHO) in defiance of the Fourth Amendment.

Rep. Mike Rogers, the Republican sponsor of the bill, alleged that its typical opponent is a "14-year-old tweeter in the basement." In adapting a form letter to my Representative offered by Demand Progress, I added the following paragraph:
Far from being a 14-year-old in my basement, as the bill's sponsor characterizes those of us who oppose it, I recently retired from a successful career as an IT professional; the last 20 years of that career were as an independent contractor. As professionals like me retire, America sorely needs bright young people to enter the field; we need the best if we are to continue to be the best. I can think of nothing more powerful than CISPA to discourage recent college graduates from entering the profession. Please oppose CISPA.
You can either depend on Obama's threatened veto alone... depending on Obama to do any specific thing seems chancy to me... or you can at least try to raise hell with your Representative. I choose the latter.

UPDATE: CISPA passed the House. Stay tuned.

No comments:

Post a Comment


• Click here to view existing comments.
• Or enter your new rhyme or reason
in the new comment box here.
• Or click the first Reply link below an existing
comment or reply and type in the
new reply box provided.
• Scrolling manually up and down the page
is also OK.

Static Pages (About, Quotes, etc.)

No Police Like H•lmes