Apr 12 2012
Unlike it’s brethren, SOPA and PIPA, CISPA doesn’t scare me because it’s aimed at shutting down piracy and giving the media companies unheard of powers. CISPA scares me because it is aimed at letting companies share information between each other and with the government in order to stop bad guys, which is a noble cause. Unluckily, CISPA is written in such a way that 1) it tramples on the very basic rights of due process and privacy to combat these threats and b) it includes clauses that name intellectual property and private information as reasons for this sharing. Which places us right back in SOPA/PIPA land, because it now the media companies are back in the thick of things.
Let’s have some laws to promote information sharing. But let’s not give up our civil liberties and make our government into more of a surveillance state than it already is.
Update: At the suggestion of a co-worker, I sat down and read the entirety of the CISPA bill, only to find it had changed significantly from when I’d first skimmed over it. Several of the clauses that would have allowed the media companies to share information freely if they suspect piracy have been changed to clarify that it’s only if there is an attempt at network compromise that the CISPA sharing would be invoked. Of course, that might not stop businesses from claiming they’re justified in sharing, which is a fairly likely event given previous experience with many media companies. It also got a little worse in some ways, including the power infrastructure companies and limiting the liability of companies even more and making it nearly impossible to claim a violation, provided you can even find out there was one in the first place. Techdirt has a good explanation of some of the changes. There’s improvement, but not enough that we shouldn’t do everything we can to stop this law in it’s current form.
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