April 20, 2012 3:14 AM   Subscribe

The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) is a controversial surveillance bill that creates broad legal exemptions for the U.S. government and private companies to share "cyber threat intelligence", a term which the bill does not adequately define and is designed to ignore in practice.

In particular, CISPA is explicit that information obtained under these legal exemptions for cybersecurity could be used for all other law enforcement purposes.

At face value, CISPA therefore appears to extend the NSA's warrantless wiretapping program into more private networks and makes it's results available for ordinary law enforcement, potentially including copyright enforcement and censoring whistleblowers.

In addition, CISPA is designed to encourage private entities to take "countermeasures" in on behalf of "cybersecurity purpose", but defines these terms vaguely enough to permit blocking websites, disrupting privacy tools like Tor, or potentially even disrupting peer-to-peer technologies or distributing spyware.

Finally, CISPA attempts to prevent legal challenges by creating a two year statute of limitations for suing the government and collaborating companies for privacy violations.

CISPA's corporate supporters includes only the telecoms who collaborated with the NSA's warrantless wiretapping program and defense contractors involved in intelligence work, but also many tech companies who helped defeat SOPA/PIPA, like Facebook and perhaps Google. These companies would gain the ability to sell their user data to government agencies and benefit from increased protections against lawsuits for privacy violations. In consequence, CISPA creator Mike Rogers (R-MI) has described any protests against CISPA as "turbulence on .. landing".

The EFF, ACLU, CDT, and various others are organizing online protests against CISPA this week. Oh, CongressTMI is amusing form of protest. The Whitehouse's relationship with CISPA has thus far been labeled "It's Complicated", but a veto sound unlikely. Also, Tim Berners-Lee spoke out against CISPA.
posted by jeffburdges (0 comments total)

This post was deleted for the following reason: This is basically authored as a sort of Op/Ed essay with supporting links that would be better on a personal blog; suggest a redo with less OP editorial framing. -- taz


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