U.S. House of Representatives Shamefully Passes CISPA; Internet Freedom Advocates Prepare for a Battle in the Senate
Today, Internet freedom advocates everywhere turned their eyes to the U.S. House of Representatives as that legislative body considered the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act.
For the second year in a row, the House voted to approve CISPA, a bill that would allow companies to bypass all existing privacy law to spy on communications and pass sensitive user data to the government. EFF condemns the vote in the House and vows to continue the fight in the Senate.
“CISPA is a poorly drafted bill that would provide a gaping exception to bedrock privacy law,” EFF Senior Staff Attorney Kurt Opsahl said. “While we all agree that our nation needs to address pressing Internet security issues, this bill sacrifices online privacy while failing to take common-sense steps to improve security.”
The legislation passed 288-127, despite a veto threat from Pres. Barack Obama, who expressed serious concerns about the danger CISPA poses to civil liberties.
“This bill undermines the privacy of millions of Internet users,” said Rainey Reitman, EFF Activism Director. “Hundreds of thousands of Internet users opposed this bill, joining the White House and Internet security experts in voicing concerns about the civil liberties ramifications of CISPA. We’re committed to taking this fight to the Senate and fighting to ensure no law which would be so detrimental to online privacy is passed on our watch.”
EFF extends its deep gratitude to the many organization that have worked with us on this campaign and the tens of thousand of EFF members who helped us by contacting Congress to oppose CISPA. We look forward to
There has been no society in the history of the world that has ever been 100% safe. No matter how much money the federal government spends on “homeland security”, the truth is that bad things will still happen. Our world is a very dangerous place and it is becoming increasingly unstable. The federal government could turn the entire country into one giant prison camp, but that would still not keep us safe. It is inevitable that bad stuff will happen in life. But we have a choice. We can choose to live in fear or we can choose to live as free men and women. Our forefathers intended to establish a nation where liberty and freedom would be maximized. But today we are told that we have to give up our liberties and our freedoms and our privacy for increased security. But is such a trade really worth it? Just think of the various totalitarian societies that we have seen down throughout history. Have any of them ever really thrived? Have their people been happy? Unfortunately, the U.S. federal government has decided that the entire country needs to be put on lock down. Nearly everything that we do today is watched and tracked, and personal privacy is rapidly becoming a thing of the past. Many of the things that George Orwell wrote about in 1984 are becoming a reality, and that is a very frightening thing. The United States is supposed to be the land of the free and the home of the brave. Sadly, we are rapidly becoming the exact opposite of that.
I don’t know about you, but I never signed up to live in North Korea. When I was growing up I was taught that repressive regimes such as North Korea are “the bad guys” and that America is where “the good guys” live.
So why do we want to be just like North Korea?
When they put in the naked body scanners at U.S. airports and started having TSA agents conduct “enhanced pat-downs” of travelers, I decided that I was not going to fly anymore unless absolutely necessary.
Then I heard about how “random bag checks” were being conducted at Metro train stations in the Washington D.C. area, and I was glad that I was no longer taking the train into D.C. anymore.
But now the TSA is showing up everywhere. Down in Houston, undercover TSA agents and police officers will now “ride buses, perform random bag checks, and conduct K-9 sweeps, as well as place uniformed and plainclothes officers at Transit Centers and rail platforms to detect, prevent and address latent criminal activity or behavior.”
So now I have another thing to add to my list of things that I can’t do anymore.
No more riding buses for me.
But the truth is that you can’t escape this expanding security grid no matter how hard you try.
In fact, TSA “VIPR teams” conduct approximately 8,000 “unannounced security screenings” every year at bus terminals, train stations, ports and highway rest stops throughout the United States.
Look, every society needs some level of security. There are always bad guys out there that want to harm innocent people.
But in the United States we must demand that those in charge of our security do their jobs in a way that does not compromise our dignity, our liberties or our freedoms.
Does having TSA thugs touch the private parts of old women and young children before they get on their flights keep us any safer?
Of course not.
But it does move our country in a very dangerous direction.
The reality is that this “Big Brother control grid” that is being constructed all around us is expanding in a thousand different ways.
For example, a new bill before the U.S. Congress would require black box data recorders to be installed in all new vehicles starting in 2015. These black box data recorders will be able to constantly transmit data about everything that your car is doing to the government and to the insurance companies. The following is from a recent article by Eric Peters….
And naturally, they – the government, insurance companies – will be able to track your every move, noting (and recording) where you’ve been and when. This will create a surveillance net beyond anything that ever existed previously. Some will not sweat this: After all, if you’ve got nothing to hide, why worry? Except for the fact that, courtesy of almost everything we do being either “illegal” or at least “suspicious” we all have a great deal to hide. The naivety of the Don’t Worry, it’s No Big Deal crowd is breathtaking. Did the average Soviet citizen also “not have anything to hide,” and hence why worry?
But the last possibility is probably the creepiest possibility: EDRs tied into your car’s GPS will give them – the government and its corporate **** ******* (edited for language) – literal physical control over (hack) “your” vehicle. This is not conspiracy theorizing. It is technological fact. Current GM vehicles equipped with the same technology about to be mandated for every vehicle can be disabled remotely. Just turned off. All the OnStar operator has to do is send the appropriate command over the GPS to your car’s computer, which controls the engine. It is one of the features touted by OnStar – of course, as a “safety” feature.
In the future, it will be used to limit your driving – for the sake of “energy conservation” or perhaps, “the environment.” It will be the perfect, er, vehicle, for implementing U.N. Agenda 21 – the plan to herd all of us formerly free-range tax cattle into urban feedlots. So much easier to control us this way. No more bailing out to the country or living off the grid – unless you get there (and to your work) by walking.
Even when you are sitting at home you are still being watched and monitored in countless ways.
For example, every single call you make on your cell phone is intercepted and monitored by the government.
Your Internet activity is tracked and monitored by a whole host of government agencies as well. If you doubt this, just read this article.
Now CISPA would expand government surveillance of the Internet even further. The following description of CISPA comes from the Electronic Frontier Foundation website….
CISPA creates an exception to all privacy laws to permit companies to share our information with each other and with the government in the name of cybersecurity…. CISPA’s ‘information sharing’ regime allows the transfer of vast amounts of data, including sensitive information like internet use history or the content of emails, to any agency in the government including military and intelligence agencies like the National Security Agency or the Department of Defense Cyber Command. Once in government hands, this information can be used for any non-regulatory purpose so long as one significant purpose is for cybersecurity or to protect national security.
Frightening stuff, eh?
I want you to imagine a scenario for a moment. Imagine that the government assigned two “watchers” to you that followed you everywhere you went and stared directly into your face the entire time.
Would you feel comfortable?
You don’t have anything to hide, do you?
Well, of course the truth is that none of us would like having our privacy constantly invaded. It is not pleasant to constantly feel like you are being watched.
That is why all of these new “security measures” are so alarming. A system is being set up where all of us are being constantly watched and monitored 24 hours a day.
And most Americans have no idea how fast the transition to full martial law could potentially be.
Barack Obama recently updated an old executive order that has been around for decades that would enable him to take charge of all food, all energy, all health resources and all transportation resources in the United States with the stroke of a pen. This new update would allow him to do it even in “non-emergency” situations.
The following is what U.S. Representative Kay Granger recently had to say about this executive order….
This means all of our water resources, construction services and materials (steel, concrete, etc.), our civil transportation system, food and health resources, our energy supplies including oil and natural gas – even farm equipment – can be taken over by the President and his cabinet secretaries. The Government can also draft U.S. citizens into the military and force U.S. citizens to fulfill “labor requirements” for the purposes of “national defense.” There is not even any Congressional oversight, only briefings are required.
Later on in her letter, Representative Granger even used the phrases “martial law” and “government takeover” to describe the power that Barack Obama potentially has under this executive order….
It is still unclear why this order was signed now, and what the consequences are for our nation – especially during times of peace. This type of Martial Law imposes a government takeover on U.S. citizens that is typically reserved for national emergencies, not in a time of relative peace.
Do you trust Barack Obama with that kind of power?
Unfortunately, considering the really bad decisions that all of our government officials regularly make, it is really hard to trust any of them to do the right thing at this point.
The American people need to let their voices be heard on these issues. If not, the federal government will continue to strip away our privacy, our liberties and our freedoms until everything is gone.
Do you want your children to grow up in a country that has been turned into a giant prison camp and that more closely resembles North Korea than it does the nation that our forefathers originally founded?
If not, please do what you can to speak out against these abuses.
The truth is that the federal government does not really even care about our national security anyway.
If they did, they would secure our borders. Just today I read that the National Guard is withdrawing 900 troops from the U.S.-Mexico border. Our border security is already a total joke and now it is going to be even worse.
Over the past several decades, tens of millions of people have crossed that border illegally. Every single day, terrorists, drug dealers, gang members, sexual predators and a whole host of other “bad guys” could be crossing that border and we would never even know about it because we aren’t doing anything to stop it.
For nearly 60 years, the U.S. government has successfully protected the border between South Korea and North Korea, but the U.S. government flatly refuses to protect our own borders.
Until the federal government decides to do what the U.S. Constitution requires them to do and start protecting our borders, then the federal government should not be asking any of us to make a single sacrifice in the name of “security”.
The truth is that we can have a reasonable level of security in this nation without giving up the liberties and the freedoms that millions of Americans have shed their blood to protect.
We do not need to turn the United States into a giant prison camp. America is supposed to be the land of the free, and we need to work hard to get that dream back.