from RT Website
and Protect IP Act (PIPA) outside the offices of U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY)
and U.S. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) on January 18, 2012
York City (AFP Photo / Mario Tama)
An onrush of
condemnation and criticism kept the SOPA and PIPA acts from passing earlier this year, but US lawmakers have
already authored another authoritarian bill that could give them free reign
to creep the Web in the name of cybersecurity.
But the vague verbiage contained within the pages of the paper could allow Congress to circumvent existing exemptions to online privacy laws and essentially monitor, censor and stop any online communication that it considers disruptive to the government or private parties.
Critics have already come after CISPA for the
capabilities that it will give to seemingly any federal entity that claims
it is threatened by online interactions, but unlike the Stop Online Privacy
Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Acts (PIPA) that were discarded on the Capitol Building
floor after incredibly successful online campaigns to crush them, widespread
recognition of what the latest would-be law will do has yet to surface to
the same degree.
So far CISPA has been introduced, referred and reported by the House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence and expects to go before a vote in the first half of Congress within the coming weeks.
As with other authoritarian attempts at
censorship that have come through Congress in recent times, of course, the
wording within the CISPA allows for the government to interpret the law in
such a number of degrees that any online communication or interaction could
be suspect and thus unknowingly monitored.
What does that mean? Both the EFF and CDT say an awfully lot.
Some of the biggest corporations in the country, including service providers such as Google, Facebook, Twitter or AT&T, could copy confidential information and send them off to the Pentagon if pressured, as long as the government believes they have reason to suspect wrongdoing.
In a summation of their own, the Congressional
Research Service, a nonpartisan arm of the Library of Congress, explains
that "efforts to degrade, disrupt or destroy" either "a system or network of
a government or private entity" is reason enough for Washington to reach in
and read any online communiqué of their choice.
So far CISPA has garnered support from over 100 representatives in the House who are favoring this cybersecurity legislation without taking into considerations what it could do to the everyday user of the Internet.
And while the backlash created by opponents of SOPA and PIPA has not materialized to the same degree yet, Burman warns Congress that it could be only a matter of time before concerned Americans step up to have their say.
H.R. 3523, she cautions,
Luckily, adds Burman,
Given the speed that the latest censorship bill
could sneak through Congress, however, anyone concerned over the future of
the Internet should be on the lookout for CISPA as it continues to be
considered on Capitol Hill.
April 4, 2012
After nearly unprecedented pushback against bills SOPA and PIPA, their apparent defeat cannot yet be claimed.
Most skeptics presumed that the defeat of the aforementioned would only serve to offer a compromised "SOPA light" at some point to circumvent criticism over government censorship.
Well, it didn't take long. In addition to OPEN and ACTA to combat supposed
piracy issues in the U.S. and Europe respectively, we now have been
presented with a full-on fascist template for Internet control where
government and private corporations will work hand in hand under the very
broad definition of cybersecurity.
Cybersecurity initiatives themselves are framed in such a way as to declare the free and open Internet to be subsumed into national security infrastructure, thus giving it over to the Pentagon, NSA, and other agents for use in surveillance and even offensive war. However, CISPA goes one step further to suggest that all information transmitted on this national security infrastructure is fair game for the prying eyes of the State.
Most likely the private sector must bow to any and all demands made,
or face being labeled as supporters of terrorism.
Once the Internet is co-opted openly by the military-industrial-surveillance complex, there will be very little chance for regaining what will be lost.