I’m wondering what you think of CISPA, an online spying bill for the internet
where the private sector can send your private data to the government or to
other businesses: everything from your email, texts, and so on. And do you think
it will work?
In this excerpt from
Answercast #18, I look at a bill being proposed in the United States and give sources for finding up-to-date information.
What will CISPA do?
Do I think it will work? It depends on what you mean by “work.”
If the thing passes, then obviously it will work for all those businesses and companies and the government who want access to all of that information. I’m not totally convinced of the benefit; and I’m very scared by the potential cost in the intrusion into our lives and privacy.
Informed opinion requires research
I certainly have not researched the bill sufficiently to offer you what I would consider to be a qualified opinion.
That being said, several organizations that I do respect have taken some strong positions against these kinds of cyber spying bills as they’ve come along. CIPA (Children’s Internet Protection Act) being the one that came up last year.
Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act
CISPA stands for the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act of 2011 (even though, it’s 2012 now.)
It is something that I think we, as internet users, need to become aware of and make sure that our opinions here in the United States are shared with our government representatives. Typically, that means the House of Representatives, or the Senate, or both; as in fact, for such a bill to become law, I believe both have to act on it.
My understanding is that the President has promised to veto it because he didn’t like it. As with all political promises, it’s one of those things that’s probably changeable depending on various things (depending on your level of cynicism.)
What I want to do is point you to three articles on CISPA that I think would be worth your spending a little time researching.
I’m going to give short links off my own redirectors because in many cases, the URLs for these pages are actually quite lengthy.
- The first one is http://go.ask-leo.com/cispa
(Note: Go.ask-leo.com is my redirector; it’s my equivalent of tinyurl or bit.ly or those kinds of things. “CISPA” is the token for this one. It will get you to the U.S. House of Representatives page on the Cyber Intelligence Sharing Protection Act bill.)
Most of the information you’ll find there is supportive of the bill because it’s been written and provided by the sponsors of the bill.
- Another one I want to send you to is http://go.ask-leo.com/cispa1
This is an article out at CNET.com entitled, “How CISPA would affect you.” It’s an FAQ basically. It’s in a question and answer format covering much of what CISPA does and does not do.
- The last one I want to send you to is http://go.ask-leo.com/cispa2
This is an article from PC World and it is entitled CISPA: Four viewpoints you should hear.
The importance of this one is that it also includes the EFF’s position. The EFF is the Electronic Frontier Foundation. They’re a non-profit organization dedicated to keeping an eye on what organizations and government are doing with respect to the internet: freedoms on the internet, privacy, security, and so forth.
The article actually has both pro and con viewpoints on CISPA, so it’s a great starting point; a good jumping off point for being able to form your own opinion, pro or con, on what this legislation would entail.
Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF)
And lastly, I’ll just throw in plug for the EFF in general, EFF.org.
They are an organization that I personally support. By support, I mean I make some donations to them periodically.
The interesting thing about the internet is that it is in many ways still all being discovered. We’re still all ‘kinda making this up’ as we go along. That includes laws and court cases and decisions that typically may seem like they’re only about one particular issue or a specific event; but in fact they end up setting precedence for larger issues like: your online privacy, your online access to open information and so forth.
So they’re an organization that I support. If continuing to keep an open internet is of interest to you, I might suggest you at least check them out as well.
Make your own decision on CISPA
So, like I said, I’m not going to give you a strong “yea” or “nay”. My gut feeling says this CISPA is evil; it’s mostly based on hearsay from some of the other organizations that I’ve just listed. I strongly recommend that you go out and have a look at the information that’s out there on CISPA and then make your opinions known to your appropriate representative in government.
I realize that this is mostly for my listeners in the United States. That’s where this bill is happening, but there are certainly similar issues planet-wide, worldwide, and I think that it’s something we all want to be paying attention to; and keeping an eye on.