|CISPA wording is concerning|
|Written by Daily Vidette Editorial Board|
|Sunday, 22 April 2012 10:29|
In the last six months, the world has taken notice of a few particular pieces of proposed legislation in regards to rights on the Internet.
SOPA protests through the blackout of Wikipedia, Tumblr, reddit, and many other sites showed our government that their bill was not the answer to combating online piracy. ACTA in Europe has also seen opposition from citizens and has not been passed. Now, the current fight for net neutrality lies with the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, or CISPA.
CISPA’s main objectives at this point are to protect websites and the government from hacking. While CISPA may not be SOPA 2.0, according to Slate Magazine, it is still something that will infringe upon the rights of our information online. Facebook and Microsoft support this bill, which will grant web firm officials special access to the government’s information on cyber threats, which is access the general public does not have.
The information that will be up for grabs is not defined in the bill, but it could very well apply to a user’s name, address, and credit card along with a list of websites they visited. Most of all, this information is exempt from the Freedom of Information Act.
Like many of the online privacy bills that have gone under fire, some carry names that are to persuade people to agree with them. For example, the Protecting Children from Internet Pornographers Act of 2011, while it may sound like a good thing, also dealt with the government having access to a user’s information through their service providers. CISPA is using the threat of national security as a scapegoat for being able to freely monitor citizens’ activities online.
With the world in as much turmoil as it is with war and conflict around the world, the energy crisis, unemployment, big issues with education, and more, shouldn’t our politicians be more concerned with those matters rather than checking up on innocent people though the Internet? With an upcoming election, there are so many more important things to focus on rather than trying to turn the Internet into some kind of military monitored police state.
Some are calling a protest of Facebook and asking people to delete their Facebook profiles on July 4 of this year if Mark Zuckerberg continues his “just trust us” attitude about CISPA. While this may or may not be successful, it will be a way to show opposition of the bill like the blackouts with SOPA.
Currently, the bill has not been voted on and a new draft of the legislation was just released on April 16. However, the bill is still vague and lacks any meaningful limitations on how the government can use the personal information retrieved and what content of private communications it receives from private companies.
This bill is not concerned with pirated material downloaded online, but what a user does and says on the Internet. Many organizations have come out in opposition of CISPA, including the American Civil Liberties Union, the Center for Democracy and Technology, and the Constitution Project.
Privacy should not be surrendered for the sake of corporate and governmental convenience, according to testPAC, and this bill deploys draconian measures to monitor the Internet. Though the bill puts forth legitimate aims to stop dangerous hacking, both domestically and internationally, the vagueness of the language concerns many.