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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

CISA -- Emergency

CISA is the latest attempt to transform the internet into a legalized surveillance-state nightmare. The latest version will also gut net neutrality. It is opposed by Amazon, Google, Symantec, Yahoo, Microsoft, the ACLU, the Electronic Frontier Foundation and a host of organizations on both the right and the left.

Obama has said that he will veto it. But proponents have sneakily included it into a "must pass" omnibus spending bill.
And the latest is that it's getting worse. Not only is Congress looking to include it in the end of year omnibus bill -- basically a "must pass" bill -- to make sure it gets passed, but it's clearly dropping all pretense that CISA isn't about surveillance. Here's what we're hearing from people involved in the latest negotiations. The latest version of CISA that they're looking to put into the omnibus:

Removes the prohibition on information being shared with the NSA, allowing it to be shared directly with NSA (and DOD), rather than first having to go through DHS. While DHS isn't necessarily wonderful, it's a lot better than NSA. And, of course, if this were truly about cybersecurity, not surveillance, DHS makes a lot more sense than NSA.

Directly removes the restrictions on using this information for "surveillance" activities. You can't get much more direct than that, right?

Removes limitations that government can only use this information for cybersecurity purposes and allows it to be used to go after any other criminal activity as well. Obviously, this then creates tremendous incentives to push for greater and greater information collection, which clearly will be abused. We've just seen how the DEA has regularly abused its powers to collect info. You think agencies like the DEA and others won't make use of CISA too?

Removes the requirement to "scrub" personal information unrelated to a cybersecurity threat before sharing that information. This was the key point that everyone kept making about why the information should go to DHS first -- where DHS would be in charge of this "scrub". The "scrub" process was a bit exaggerated in the first place, but it was at least something of a privacy protection. However, it appears that the final version being pushed removes the scrub requirement (along with the requirement to go to DHS) and instead leaves the question of scrubbing to the "discretion" of whichever agency gets the information. Guess how that's going to go?

In short: while before Congress could at least pretend that CISA was about cybersecurity, rather than surveillance, in this mad dash to get it shoved through, they've dropped all pretense and have stripped every last privacy protection, expanded the scope of the bill, and made it quite clear that it's a very broad surveillance bill that can be widely used and abused by all parts of the government.

There is still some hesitation by some as to whether or not this bill belongs in the omnibus bill, or if it should go through the regular process, with a debate and a full vote on this entirely new and different version of CISA. So, now would be a good time to speak out, letting your elected officials and the White House know that (1) CISA should not be in the omnibus and (2) that we don't need another surveillance bill.
From Common Dreams:
"Now is when we’ll find out whether President Obama really cares about the Internet and freedom of speech, or whether he’s happy to roll over and allow technologically illiterate members of Congress break the Internet in the name of cybersecurity," said the group's campaign director, Evan Greer.

Negotiators have been working to pass some version of the CISA bill, which would allow the sharing of Internet traffic information between the U.S. government and technology and manufacturing companies, for more than three years.

After the Senate passed its Intelligence Committee-originated version in October, lawmakers have been trying meld that rule with two similar versions that recently passed in the House—amounting to a bill which critics warn is completely gutted of any privacy protections.

Now, citing "media reports and sources close to legislative negotiations," privacy advocates say that the legislation has been tacked on to the budget bill. According to The Hill, "Most observers believe the tactic gives the cyber bill its best shot of getting through Congress in 2015, as only a handful of legislative days remain before the upcoming recess."

Fight for the Future on Monday launched a petition campaign calling on the president to reject the bill, which it warns would allow "unlimited surveillance" thus destroying online privacy, make users more vulnerable to hackers, and eliminate any incentive that private technologies might have to improve cyber security.

"This administration promised to veto any information sharing bill that did not adequately protect Internet users’ privacy, and the final version of this bill doesn’t even come close," Greer continued.
Incidentally, the person most responsible for making CISA a nightmare is Paul Ryan.
Speaker of the House Paul Ryan is trying to use a Congressional loophole to push through two attacks on our Internet freedom in the 'omnibus' must-pass budget bill that Congress is expected to file tonight. He wants to include the final version of CISA which has been completely stripped of privacy protections. And he wants to include a rider that would undermine the FCC's ability to enforce the net neutrality protections we fought so hard to win this year. There's still time to stop this sneak attack, go to or call 1-832-YOUR-NET to call Congress now!
I've said it before: You can never give a libertarian power. Yes, it is true that libertarians outside of Congress have done an excellent job of opposing CISA. But whenever an Ayn Randroid attains any measure of actual power, he ceases to care about any aspect of libertarianism other than freedom for large corporations. All of that talk about personal liberty, all of that jibber-jabber about avoiding international adventurism...? That stuff is for editorials in Reason and debates held by the Cato institute. In the real world, it goes by the wayside.

Facts are facts: In Congress, the opposition to CISA has been led by Bernie Sanders (self-proclaimed socialist), and the attempt to make the measure even worse has been led by Paul Ryan (self-proclaimed Ayn Randroid).

This comparison tells you who's got your back.
We are so screwed.
Well, you could try calling and writing your congressperson before you give in to despair.

Just a suggestion.
Just a suggestion

Oh sure like they're under control of their pay masters would even take into account what we the citizens of the new corp. controlled Amerika would want?
It seems that Caesar and Syrian torture claims are getting a new run here and here.
It seems the renewed media interest come from a New York exhibit at the UN Headquarters, an initiative sponsored by the US, Britain, France, Qatar and Saudi Arabia. So why the need to rehash a story that had been out for a year?

Maidhc Ó Cathail provides an excellent background analysis.
Apologies for the disjointed posts, Joseph. I'm asking myself why these Syrian torture claims (which have been out for over a year) have suddenly resurfaced now, sponsored by the US, Britain, France, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

Recall the history...

1. The downing of a Russian jet fighter by Turkey on 24 Nov (almost certainly with US approval).
2. Growing diplomatic pressure in US-Russian discussions to include Pres.Assad in any Syrian peace settlement.
3. A newly formed Saudi-sponsored Islamic Coalition Against Terrorism which was announced on 9 Dec. It's sole purpose appears to be as a propaganda exercise to convince the West that Gulf State countries are our allies against terrorism (but only of the ISIS kind).
4. US war hawks such as Sen.John McCain continue to insist that Assad must go and the US needs to put ground forces into Syria.
5. Moves by the UK and France to send fighter aircraft into Syria (the aggressiveness of Cameron on this point was revealing).
6. The Turkish movement of tanks and occupying forces to Mosul on 4 Dec 2015, an illegal move formally protested by the Iraq government.
7. US-led coalition airstrikes on Syrian Army facilities in Deir ez-Zor on 6 Dec, killing at least three Syrian military and injuring another 13.

I look to these recent events and the propaganda posturings and I can only conclude that the US and partners are intending to (1) defeat the idea that Assad can form part of any peace process, and (2) setting the stage for an increased US and allies military presence in Syria, a presence that will almost certainly involve direct conflict with Russia. So they are establishing their credentials: we are all united against ISIS and we need to save Syria from the torturer, the "bad man".
Obama will sign it and the O-bots will say he had no choice and it's our fault we don't understand Three Dimensional Chess.
Joseph, the only journalist who has been able to interview Caesar is a French woman Garance le Caisne who has written a book about him (but apparently not much else if google is any guide).

Caesar: "The security services feel invulnerable. They can’t imagine that one day they will be called to account for their abuses. They know that great powers support the regime. And they never thought that these photos would get out and be seen by the wider world.

In fact, I wonder if the security service bosses aren’t more stupid than we think. Busy repressing demonstrators, looting the population, killing, they’ve forgotten that their abuses were being documented. Look at the chemical attack on Ghouta! Those responsible knew there would be evidence of what they had done – yet they still fired their rockets."

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