Just a friendly reminder: this week the House of Representatives will hold a mark-up meeting for the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) behind closed doors and hidden from the public.
While Congress may have good intentions in wanting to pass a law that protects computer systems that control America's critical infrastructure and to protect both government and corporate systems from hackers, this bill is so vague that it is dangerous to the citizens of this country. It ignores basic constitutional rights, it gives us less privacy and it gives government power over the Internet. It also gives immunity to corporations should they make a mistake in sharing your private information with various government agencies.
Here's some bullets points from the Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA) on why CISPA is so horrible:
• 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.
Worst of all, now Congress wants to argue about the bill amongst themselves in private. That means you won't be seeing this meeting on C-SPAN or any major news outlets and we won't know about any good or bad amendments made until after the dust settles.
Luckily, there is one thing you can do about this bill and the way that lawmakers are handling it: TELL THEM. You can visit the ECA's advocacy section and within a few minutes send your representatives in D.C a message.
[Full Disclosure: GamePolitics is an ECA publication.]