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Friday, April 27, 2012

CISPA: "No veto, no vote!"

A day ahead of schedule, the House approved CISPA.
The vote was 248 to 168, as 42 Democrats joined 206 Republicans in backing the bill. The “no” votes were cast by 140 Democrats and 28 Republicans
Despite these numbers, my readers will no doubt insist on trying to convince me that both parties are equally culpable. Take that bullshit to some other blog.

Some observers argue that the amended version is, as this author puts it, only "slightly less creepy." In fact, the rewritten bill is much worse than before.
Previously, CISPA allowed the government to use information for "cybersecurity" or "national security" purposes. Those purposes have not been limited or removed. Instead, three more valid uses have been added: investigation and prosecution of cybersecurity crime, protection of individuals, and protection of children. Cybersecurity crime is defined as any crime involving network disruption or hacking, plus any violation of the CFAA.

Basically this means CISPA can no longer be called a cybersecurity bill at all. The government would be able to search information it collects under CISPA for the purposes of investigating American citizens with complete immunity from all privacy protections as long as they can claim someone committed a "cybersecurity crime". Basically it says the 4th Amendment does not apply online, at all. Moreover, the government could do whatever it wants with the data as long as it can claim that someone was in danger of bodily harm, or that children were somehow threatened—again, notwithstanding absolutely any other law that would normally limit the government's power.
"Protection of individuals"? That wording is far too broad. BDSM fantasists can be targeted under CISPA. We're in Minority Report territory here -- prosecuting people for crimes that have not been committed yet.

We are best protected by a justice system that respects our privacy. We don't want our every online communication scrutinized by unseen spies. We want a system that disallows searches by anyone other than a cop armed with a warrant. As Orson Welles once wrote: Police work is easy only in a police state.

Here's the EFF's take:
Minimization Retention and Notification Amendment This amendment has a somewhat misleading title because it does little to actually “minimize” the retention of sensitive user data. In short, the amendment states that if a department or agency receives information that actually isn’t related to cyber security threats, they shall “notify” the entity that gave them the information. This amendment also says that data won’t be kept for purposes other than what has been outlined in the bill—but doesn’t actually narrow the expansive reasons that data can be kept.

The bill also states that the government “may” choose to “undertake reasonable efforts to limit the impact on privacy and civil liberties.” There’s no mandate to do so and no explanation of what constitutes “reasonable efforts.”

Definitions Amendment—We’ve been highly critical of the overbroad ways in which “cyber security” is defined in the bill. We’re concerned that typical privacy-protective measures like using Tor or pseudonyms might be deemed “cyber threat information” under the vague definitions of CISPA. The good news is that this amendment excludes intelligence pertaining to efforts to gain unauthorized access that “solely involve violations of consumer terms of service or consumer licensing agreements and do not otherwise constitute unauthorized access.” This is a step in the right direction because at least signing up for Facebook with a pseudonym is unlikely to get you reported to the FBI for attempting to gain “unauthorized access.”

Unfortunately, this amendment doesn’t address the serious problems with the vague definitions. Even after amendments, “Cybersecurity system" defines the system that “cybersecurity providers” or self-protected entities use to monitor and defend against cyber threats. This is a “system” intended to safeguard “a system or network.” The definition could mean anything—a Local Area Network, a Wide Area Network, a microchip, a website, online service, or a DVD. It might easily be stretched to be a catch-all term with no meaning. For example, it is unclear whether DRM on a DVD constitutes a “cybersecurity system.” And such a “cybersecurity system” is defined to protect a system or network from “efforts to degrade, disrupt or destroy”—language that is similarly too broad. Degrading a network could be construed to mean using a privacy-enhancing technology like Tor, or a p2p protocol, or simply downloading too many files.
If I understand the EFF correctly, making use of a Virtual Private Network could be considered an assault on a cybersecurity system. VPNs are much like Tor or a proxy server -- they allow you to route all your traffic through an unrelated server. A lot of people use VPNs to watch the BBC outside of the U.K., or to watch Hulu outside of the United States.  The new law is so broad that you may be consider a "cybersecurity threat" if you simply try to hide your identity.

Under this law, the military will have the power to collect all sorts of data on innocent Americans. If you still don't understand the scope of the danger, let me turn on all the lights for you: Although the CIA is prohibited by statute from operating domestically, that statute does not cover the Defense Department's new DCS. I can't think of any other reason why the DCS was brought into existence without any notable public debate.

We didn't need yet another intelligence service in order to fight terrorists. The new spooks will be spooking you. And CISPA gives the intelligence community all the tools necessary to track your every movement. your every association -- your every thought.
What made CISPA so controversial is a section saying that, “notwithstanding any other provision of law,” companies may share information with Homeland Security, the IRS, the NSA, or other agencies. By including the word “notwithstanding,” CISPA’s drafters intended to make their legislation trump all existing federal and state laws, including ones dealing with wiretaps, educational records, medical privacy, and more.
Now the battle for privacy goes to the Senate. Here's how to petition your senators.

We must also put pressure on the White House. And I'm talking about an unprecedented amount of pressure.

I don't want to hear any defeatist caterwauling. True, I'm a cynic by nature, and nobody ever called me an Obama fan. But the fact remains -- he may soon be the only protection we have against the passage of this bill.

At this writing, the White House threat to veto CISPA remains operational. So...there's that. We have to make sure that Obama understands that if he fucks us this time, Dems will finally rebel.

This is it. We must draw a line, and we must inform the President in no uncertain terms that he dare not cross it. Tell Obama: If you don't veto, we don't vote.
As I have said before, what do they know that we dont about our near term future? Why do they expect more trouble from the citizenry? Why the need for such repressive capabability?

I have grave misgivings about the direction of economic trends, resource trends and weather trends. I often think about the first 10 minutes after the crew had worked out that the ship was sinking on the Titanic. Apparently you couldnt persuade people to get into life boats because there was no sign that the ship was sinking to those on the higher decks. The lifeboats looked much more dangerous than the ship.

I wonder about our situation. Is that what I am doing? Ignoring something staring me in the face because it is so counter intuitive even if reason points unambiguously in the direction of disaster.

Why the need to repress you? Sorry for being impolite, but you really don't seem to grasp human nature very well. I just don't quite get why people are having such a hard time understanding why the "POWERS THAT BE" would want unlimited snooping powers to repress you? Because that is just what repressive assholes do by their very nature. What is so hard to understand here?


A. To predict what you are going to do so they can better rob you
B. To blackmail you
C. To know where you have been and what you have done, and what 60s radical or Russian spy you may be 6 degrees of separation from to frame or entrap you
D. To know what you know about them.

You see, they are already spying on everyone, they just want your consent. Your signature on the dotted line. But when was the last time you saw them use this info to put a Wall Street banker in jail? Or against a high ranking non-already-dead terrorist? Or against a war criminal? Remember those Russians that were cozying up to Democrats that the FBI spied on from 2001-2010 and then let go back home to Russia to become celebrities and do magazine shoots?

"According to court documents relating to the spies' arrest, Murphy had been in contact with a fundraiser and "personal friend" of Hillary Clinton, who took the office of Secretary of State in January 2009. "

"There is no real hunt. It's fixed"

How about those high ranking drug kingpins in Columbia or Mexico laundering their money through American banks? Or maybe they could use those powers to help get organized crime figures like Dawood Ibrahim who was apparently involved with the Mumbai attack but is now protected by Pakistan? Fat chance.

It is all RIGGED. Rigged against YOU.

They want this power to spy on YOU the average American to keep YOU bent over and taking it in the butt. It really is that simple.
I suppose more is better. If you like surveillance you will love total surveillance. Yes I can see that.

Buts whats with the building of new detention centers? And usually an elite in such total control would feel a little more secure and smug wouldnt it? The US of the 1980s felt pretty secure internally. It was externally that it focused its empire building and national interest defense.

Now all of a sudden the push is on internal surveillance and control. What changed? Surely even a senior american civil servant can see some disadvantages to turning the country into a parody of Eric Blair's ugly prophesy?

Since when did the richest american's decide that the country should become a police state? Why is that suddenly more in their interests than in the past?

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