The Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA) has issued a call to action concerning the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, or CISPA. We've talked about CISPA here, and while it's not quite as overreaching as SOPA, PIPA, or ACTA, the bill is so vague in its language that it could prove to be dangerous if interpreted the wrong way by individuals and groups that don't give two shakes about privacy, Internet freedom and free speech. At a glance, the bill lets government entities, service providers, and content providers share information on individuals in the name of combating "cyber threats."
That seems like a worthwhile endeavor until you think about what exactly would be shared among all these different public and private entities, because the language of the bill doesn't define it. Below is a list of other problems with the bill, according to the ECA:
- The description of what can be shared is rather vague. So it could include your browsing history, searches and even what games you play.
- There aren’t any restrictions on the recipients who can receive and use that information. If this is about cyber-security, it should only be used for that.
- Private communications will be flowing from the private sector to the NSA. Yes, really.
- It broadens spying organizations’ powers with little transparency and limited public oversight.
- There are vague countermeasures included that allow “cyber security systems” to obtain information in order to protect networks.
- Websites that publish whistleblower documents could be shut down, censoring speech and the web.
While there's certainly a need to change the laws to deal with internet security issues, when politicians attempt to fast-track bills like CISPA with vague language and undefined rules, we need to stand against it. Here's more on that from the ECA's alert:
"There is a need to update laws to allow for better cyber security, but this legislation is vague and not focused enough. I mean, how many hours and what maps you play on Call of Duty really matters when it comes to national security? Not only are the doors wide open as far as what companies can share with the government, the legislation isn’t very specific as to who they’re sharing it with and what it’ll be used for. Once again Congress is writing legislation about technology they don’t understand."
If CISPA bothers you, then you can do something about it by letting your elected representative know that this half-baked cake needs a more refined recipe and time more to bake in the oven. Let them know by visiting the ECA Action Alert Page now.
[Full Disclosure: GamePolitics is an ECA publication.]