Normally we would ignore what's going on at Twitter (not because we don't care but because the daily machinations of the service have no bearing within these pages), but a change in policy is of particular interest - mainly in how it might relate to current and future cybersecurity bills - like CISPA, PROTECT IT, and the Cybersecurity Act of 2012. Like Google, Twitter has decided to disclose how often the U.S. government asks for information on a user or issues a DMCA takedown via what they call a new "transparency tool."
In an age where acronyms such as SOPA, PIPA, ACTA, CISPA, CSA, and more put fear into the hearts of Internet users all over the globe it's time that someone stand up and clearly define what rights we should have on the Internet. Like the Continental Congress did when America declared Independence way back in 1776, the Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA) and other advocacy groups have come up with our own version of a "Declaration" for the Internet age.
According to a post on The Hill privacy groups remain unimpressed with efforts to draft a revised version of the SECURE IT Act. Senate Republicans released a revised version of their cybersecurity bill on Wednesday, but privacy groups shrugged off the changes as minor.
Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, and a co-sponsor of Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), thinks that President Barack Obama will back down from a threat he made earlier in the year to veto the bill if it crosses his desk. The Administration's problem with the bill was that it gave amnesty to corporations willing to share user data with government agencies like the NSA and did not do enough to safeguard internet user privacy concerns.
But none of those concerns will matter anymore, according to Rogers.
Lawmakers seems to believe that if you put the term "Cyber" together with scary terms like "war," "terror," and "security" that you can get the power you need to pass bills and enable new powers for the government. The same tactics were employed quite unsuccessfully with SOPA and PIPA, bills that used words like "theft," "copyright infringement," "piracy," and "counterfeiting" to fight against supposed international crime.
The Cybersecurity Act of 2012 (CSA) lead sponsor Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) says that the bill will be dead in the water if it is not voted on before July. The Cybersecurity Act of 2012, which includes some of the language from the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), could be voted on before that because it has the support of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV). While the Administration support's Lieberman's bill, the President said earlier this year that he would veto CISPA in its current form if it crossed his desk.
Sens. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) and Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) are offering a draft cybersecurity bill to fellow senators that they hope will convince them to support the bill. In the new bill Homeland Security would have the power to "pressure" but not force critical infrastructure companies to improve the security of their computer systems.
Tick tock says the clock and Congressman Jim Langevin (D-R.I.), who said today that time is running out on passing the Senate's version of the cybersecurity bill. Perhaps he means that time is running out before the general public figures out just how awful it is...
Speaking at West Point, Langevin admitted that there was still "a gulf in opinions" about the government's role in protecting private computer networks and that the divide has become "an increasingly daunting barrier" to passing reforms.
Update: It would be a disservice to our readers if we failed to mention Fight for the Future's recent calamity with user information. You can read about it here.
Advocacy groups Fight for the Future, Democrats.com, The Liberty Coalition, and the Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA), have banded together to create a new website called Privacy Is Awesome, to fight against CISPA and the Senate version of the bill, SECURE IT Act. The site is designed to teach netizens how to defeat the bills in five easy steps:
Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) said on Monday that the Senate's cybersecurity legislation being pushed by Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-Conn.) and Susan Collins (R-Maine) is an overreaction to cyber threats and would undermine the privacy rights of American citizens.
Wyden said that both the House and Senate bills "subordinate all existing privacy rules and constitutional principles to the poorly defined interest of 'cybersecurity.'"
Legendary computer scientist and the man known as "the father of the Internet," Vint Cerf said during the Freedom to Connect conference in Washington on Monday that the International Telecommunications Union will become a "global Internet cop" by using a number of new tools being crafted by lawmakers. Cerf said that the ITU could push mandatory intellectual property laws as a way to strengthen web surveillance.
The Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA) has sent out an action alert calling on its members and the general public to take action against the House bill CISPA and its Senate counterpart the Cybersecurity Act of 2012. Both are bad news for anyone that uses the Internet because the laws would allow corporations like Facebook and Google to share your Internet habits with government agencies without fear of being sued by you for doing so.
Earlier this week the Center for Democracy & Technology sent a letter to the Senate expressing its grave concerns over the cybersecurity bill sponsored by Sens. Joe Lieberman (I-CT.) and Susan Collins (R-ME.). The letter was signed by 21 organizations and individuals that see the Senate’s version of CISPA (SECURE IT) as deeply flawed and dangerous to Internet freedom, individual liberty, and privacy.
Sen. Joe Lieberman’s (I- CT.) cybersecurity bill - a counterpart of sorts to the House's Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) - is running into plenty of opposition from Democrats in the Senate who say the bill does not do enough to protect the privacy of citizens. Adding to the fact that most Senate Republicans don't like Lieberman’s bill is that several prominent Democrats don't like it either.
Facebook is beginning to drum up interest among the investor class for its initial public offering, which could raise raise between $9.4 billion and $11.8 billion for the company. But because of its public support for CISPA one high profile investor says that he is not going to touch Facebook's stock: Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian.
In an interview with CNN, Ohanian said that he plans to hold off on any investment in Facebook due to its support of CISPA. He did concede that he understood the “business value of what Facebook is doing.”
Senate Democrats are tweaking their versions of cybersecurity legislation to gain more support from Republicans, according to a report from The Hill. The reason they are doing this, says the publication, is because they lack the 60 votes needed to bring the bill to the floor.
It's bad enough that Congress pushed the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) through to a floor vote without much of a change to its original language or hearings from experts on what the impact of the bill would have on privacy, but this next story is downright infuriating to any citizen that believes we have a right to privacy and that the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution is a sacred right.
Conservative-Tea Party-Libertarian activist and Ron Paul operative Jack Hunter tackles CISPA in the latest edition of his web show "The Deal with Jack Hunter" over on The Daily Caller. The show opens with a clip of a story about Congresswoman Jane Harman (D-California), who wrote a scathing letter to Attorney General Eric Holder because her phone had been wiretapped.
Appearing on the C-SPAN program "The Communicators," White House Cybersecurity Coordinator Howard Schmidt reiterated the Administration’s concerns with the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) that was recently passed in the house and promised the President would veto it if it crossed his desk in its current form. The Administration's concerns with the bill relate to how loosely worded it is, its lack of provisions to ensure privacy, as well as its amnesty provisions for companies that turn over user data to government agencies.
Over at Business Insider, The DL Show host and new media advocate David Seaman offers four things you can do right now to fight against the "legislative nightmare" that is CISPA.
Entertainment Consumers Association (ECA) president Hal Halpin recently sat down with Destructoid to talk about the dangers consumers face at the hands of corporate interests and by politicians creating new regulations and laws that stifle free speech and invade our privacy. We'll update our story later when the full interview goes live, but this quote from Halpin deals specifically with the issue of CISPA and laws like it:
In what can only be described as a dirty hat trick, U.S. House of Representatives quickly amended the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act(CISPA) and then brought the bill to the floor for a vote a day earlier than was scheduled. The fast and dirty vote on the bill led to it being approved by a vote of 248-168 (15 no votes). You can see if your representative voted for the bill by checking out this document.
The White House has warned lawmakers in the U.S. House of Representatives that if they send him the current version of the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) it will be vetoed by the President. While Politico says that House Republicans are preparing to take it to the floor for a vote, it should be noted that CISPA has plenty of bipartisan support. The House Rules Committee held a session this week to weigh amendments to the bill, led by Reps. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) and Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.).
We are not ready to say that the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) is in trouble, but around 18 lawmakers are concerned enough about its loose language and its ability to pass private information around like a pack of smokes in prison that they have written the bill's sponsors a letter.
According to a SiliconValley.com report, the U.S. House of Representatives will take up a revised version of the controversial Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) at the end of April. The revisions to the bill should address concerns about privacy, according to its sponsors, but details on what has been changed in the language are unknown at this time.