CISA (the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act): Eternal Vigilance is the Price of Internet Liberty
By Thomas L. Knapp
Well into the third decade of widely available Internet access for regular people, it’s getting more and more difficult to focus public attention on threats to our freedoms in cyberspace. We’re tired of having to constantly keep track of and squash the latest political and bureaucratic schemes to seize power over the Internet and what we do on it. And the politicians and bureaucrats are taking advantage of that fatigue, as we saw earlier this year when the Federal Communications Commission promulgated its “Net Neutrality” coup.
Now CISA (the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act) looks to be within weeks or even days of final passage by Congress. The US House of Representatives has already passed one version of the bill, and the Senate followed suit with another on October 27. Once the two houses reconcile their slightly different bills and take another vote, CISA will be on its way to President Obama’s desk for signature.
It’s time to shake off the fatigue, folks. Time to get on the horn to “your” congresscritters and tell them, in no uncertain terms, that you expect them to vote “no” on CISA when it comes back to the House and Senate floors for final approval.
The conceit behind CISA is that it’s a “cybersecurity” bill which merely makes it easier for tech companies to “share” information with the federal government as a way of countering cyber-attacks. Good for everyone. Adequate privacy protections. Yada yada yada.
If you believe that line, I’d like to talk with you about a friend of mine who died recently — a Nigerian general who left $10 million in a bank account, and I could use your help getting it out.
If you’re interested in cybersecurity, the LAST entity you want to trust with ANY of your information, EVER, is the federal government. Remember, these are the guys whose Office of Personnel Management got hacked earlier this year, exposing the personal information of more than 20 million people … that we know of. The feds are to cybersecurity what Inspector Clouseau is to police procedure.
The real purpose of CISA is to make it easier for companies who cooperate with the illegal, unconstitutional domestic spying operations of the National Security Agency and other government agencies to get away with doing so. That’s it. That’s all. Nothing else.
CISA is the latest in a long line of actual and attempted Internet power grabs by the DC crowd. I know you’re tired of fighting these outrages. I know you’re tired of even hearing about them. But it’s important. Let’s put CISA down like the rabid dog it is, and put the politicians on notice that while we may be tired, we’re not asleep.
Thomas L. Knapp is director and senior news analyst at the William Lloyd Garrison Center for Libertarian Advocacy Journalism (thegarrisoncenter.org). He lives and works in north central Florida.
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