#CISPA

21 Apr

A guest post  I will not credit:  encompassing everything I fear about this Bill…read it and weep…

WTF is CISPA

So why is CISPA so bad?  It’s American legislation so it only affects Americans, right?

Wrong.

The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act is ostensibly intended to to combat the threat of major hacking attempts on elements of national infrastructure which, in itself, is an obviously worthy goal.  With power stations, water and gas pumping stations and other critical elements of society able to be managed remotely it’s only a matter of time before someone successfully attacks the control systems and engineers a disaster without ever stepping foot in the country concerned, let alone being anywhere near the premises.  The consequences of a Stuxnet-style attack at a nuclear power station don’t bear thinking about.

However, one consequence of the act’s massively wide definitions is allowing the US government (and their private sector cyber-security partners) to access whatever information you have put on the internet in the guise of national security, whoever’s service you’ve put it there by.   You might think: nothing to hide, nothing to fear.   That maybe so, but ask yourself – do you know someone with, say, a protected twitter account?   Even if they’re doing nothing actually wrong with their account, there is a reason they wish to keep their audience small yes?   Well, once CISPA becomes law in the US it will be law everywhere (everywhere there’s a US-based server involved – Google, Hotmail, YouTube, Yahoo, Flickr, Facebook and so on) and this means the US government, and whoever they choose to share your information with, are now a silent part of that audience too.   Who knows when an innocent dig at your employer or the government of the day could completely unexpectedly come back to bite you in the backside?   What’s that, you’re not worried – you read the privacy policy thoroughly before you signed up?  Hah.  It means nothing if CISPA comes to pass.

Have a business or private website, a blog, or even have a device that gives you “cloud” storage?  Have Intellectual Property stored there you might wish to keep your own?   If it’s hosted by a US company, or even just by a non-US company but one with servers in the US, whatever data you store there will also now free for the US government and US industry to access.   No warrant is necessary, no probable cause need exist and (probably worst of all) any companies that comply with CISPA will be completely immune to the consequences of their sharing your information, irrespective what those consequences (to you) might turn out to be, and this is the case whether there’s a good reason for their proliferating your data or not.  You will have no recourse to law to defend yourself should you be falsely accused of something by a company that participates, you will have no recourse if your plans for a new and improved something-or-other get stolen and used by an American company, and it’s for the suspension of legal responsibility that CISPA is probably likely to succeed where SOPA and PIPA failed.  Those two attempts to control the WWW failed largely because they gave (eg) copyright owners the right to take action against hosts (eg) YouTube, Twitter, or Facebook if they found infringing content.  Participating in CISPA would render these global corporations exempt from civil or criminal penalties from wrongful disclosure or access.   You, of course, will not be.  No 30 pieces of silver for you or me.

Still not worried?   When government and big business team up to operate with no legal oversight you bloody well should be, particularly when it’s to control information.  How damaging has the silence been on cuts to the police, the health service, etc??  Also, consider how, for cracking one particularly tricky bit of their reproductive cycle, Monsanto tried to claim a worldwide copyright on pigs and the same company regularly sue farmers (who don’t use their bovine growth hormone) to smithereens simply for saying their milk doesn’t contain BGH.  Control of information.  A number of biotech companies are already fighting copyright battles over bits of various genomes when all they’ve done is map it, not create it FFS (this is likely to expand to our individual genomes too as more medicines head this way – if you can monetise it, someone will fight for the right to control it).   Information is knowledge, knowledge is power, power is control.

When you’re writing to your MP and a peer asking them to stop the S.75 NHS competition regulations, stop punishing the sick, vulnerable and poor for the failings of the banks, stop privatising our schools, hospitals, emergency services, roads, airwaves and every bloody thing else that’s not already in private hands, it would be worth adding “please also contact the US Ambassador to the UK and ask them to veto CISPA”.

Remember – who’s responsible for your online security?   Turns out it’s Uncle Sam and, I don’t know about you, I don’t have an Uncle Sam.

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One Response to “#CISPA”

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  1. #CISPA | SteveB's Politics & Economy Scoops... - April 22, 2013

    […] A guest post I will not credit: encompassing everything I fear about this Bill…read it and weep… So why is CISPA so bad? It's American legislation so it only affects Americans, right?…  […]

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