CISPA or Cyber Intelligence Sharing Protection Act was filed on Nov. 2011 in US House of Representatives and was approved on April 26, 2012 and on it’s way to the US senate. CISPA is a cousin of SOPA or Stop Online Piracy Act which was introduced to US House of Representatives a month earlier than CISPA.
The 2 bills seek to combat 2 different beasts, but equally dangerous to internet freedom. While SOPA seeks to squeeze legit US web companies, CIPA, however, gives immunity to the same companies if they decide to share “user” INFORMATION (the info you gave to open an account, plus the contents of your email or social networking account) without you knowing it. An overview of the bill below:
In addition, here is an excerpt of a recent CNET Article about the likely effects of CISPA
Q: Why is CISPA so controversial?
What sparked significant privacy worries is the section of CISPA that says “notwithstanding any other provision of law,” companies may share information “with any other entity, including the federal government.” It doesn’t, however, require them to do so.
By including the word “notwithstanding, it would trump wiretap laws, Web companies’ privacy policies, gun laws, educational record laws, census data, medical records, and other statutes that protect information, warns the ACLU’s Richardson: “For cybersecurity purposes, all of those entities can turn over that information to the federal government.
It can lead to a version of cybersecurity warrantless wiretapping.
Q: Are there other examples of this public-private cooperation for eavesdropping?
Louis Tordella, the longest-serving deputy director of the NSA, acknowledged overseeing a similar project to intercept telegrams as recently as the 1970s.
President Richard Nixon, plagued by anti-Vietnam protests and worried about foreign influence, ordered that Project Shamrock’s electronic ear be turned inward to eavesdrop on American citizens. In 1969, Nixon met with the heads of the NSA, CIA and FBI and authorized an intercept program. Nixon later withdrew the formal authorization, but informally, police and intelligence agencies kept adding names to the watch list. At its peak, 600 American citizens appeared on the list, including singer Joan Baez, pediatrician Benjamin Spock, actress Jane Fonda and the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
Q: Would CISPA allow companies to violate their terms of service by turning over information to the Feds without a search warrant?
Yes. Though to be clear: if you trust your Internet provider, e-mail provider, and so on, to protect your privacy, CISPA should not be a worrisome bill. The U.S. government can’t force companies to open their databases and networks; federal agencies can only request it. But as the warrantless wiretapping debate shows, the private sector may give in.
Q: What industry groups support CISPA?
One of the biggest differences between CISPA and its Stop Online Piracy Act predecessor is that the Web blocking bill was defeated by a broad alliance of Internet companies and millions of peeved users. Not CISPA: the House Intelligence committee proudly lists letters of support from Facebook, Microsoft, Oracle, Symantec, Verizon, AT&T, Intel, and trade association CTIA, which counts representatives of T-Mobile, Sybase, Nokia, and Qualcomm as board members.
Q: Is CISPA worse than SOPA?
For all its flaws, SOPA targeted primarily overseas Web sites, not domestic ones. It would have allowed the U.S. attorney general to seek a court order against the targeted offshore Web site that would, in turn, be served on Internet providers in an effort to make the target virtually disappear.
CISPA, by contrast, would allow personal information to be vacuumed up by government agencies for cybersecurity and law enforcement purposes, as long as Internet and telecommunications companies agreed. In that respect, at least, its impact is broader.
How CISPA can affect internet users outside US, like the Philippines
- Congressmen and Senators, taking the cue from uncle Sam’s congress, can file a similar bill. I doubt, however, if it will progress since privacy and freedom is worshipped here.
- Though we are not American citizens, if we are suspected cyber terrorists, since most of the services we use are hosted in the US, our personal information and private conversations in email and social networking sites can be opened and shared.
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