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CISPA Nears Vote In The House – Threatens Internet Freedom

Just so you know, just because I have decided to vote for Mitt Romney, that doesn’t mean I am willing to follow the Republicans lead on everything. I am not willing to fall in lockstep with everything they suggest is a good idea. The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act of 2011 (CISPA) is a good example of that unwillingness. Many people may not know that CISPA is set for a vote in the House of Representatives on Thursday. They may also not know or realize exactly what this piece of legislation will do. When you start digging into the particulars, it’s more than a little disturbing. Even more disturbing is that the main sponsor of CISPA is Mike Rogers, a Republican from Michigan. This is from Talking Points Memo.

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CISPA specifically seeks to encourage Web companies and U.S. intelligence agencies to share more information with each other CISPAabout cybersecurity threats, including, potentially, personally identifiable information about Web users.

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Internet service providers such as Time Warner Cable and other Web companies such as Facebook and Twitter already routinely share such information about their users with law enforcement and other government agencies when compelled by subpoenas, warrants and other court orders or emergency circumstances.

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CISPA, however, would seek to allow for increased information sharing without going through such steps.

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“An internet service provider is already protecting the network within your office,” Rogers pointed out, “They identify a nasty, malicious source code and stop it before you even know about it. They do this thousands of times a day. This is simply a voluntary arrangement that allows these companies and the government to share the malicious code they find with others, to allow them to protect their networks and users.”

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As Rogers told TPM, currently only selected companies have the security clearance to receive classified cyber threat intelligence gathered by the government, but his bill is designed to bring more companies into the fold without having to go through a time consuming process.

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I will make the usual disclaimer here that I am no expert, but CISPA gives me much cause for concern. From a simple layman’s point of view, it would seem that we would have learned our lesson from The Patriot Act. It was/is a well-meaning piece of legislation, designed to protect us from terrorism, but it has blossomed into something that allows search and seizure without warrants, search and molestation at the TSA, etc. What CISPA is designed to do is not much different, as it will break down the requirement for search warrants before the government acquires certain online information.

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I have a question that begs an answer. Why does our government seem to be so obsessed with removing the requirement for search warrants? In the name of security, our liberties are being slowly stripped away. It is a disturbing trend to see the constitutional protections that have served us well for over two hundred years being slowly eroded and removed. It is a dangerous precedent, one which needs to be reversed.

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It is at times like this when we should heed the warnings from Ron Paul. He is concerned about CISPA and is at the front of the fight to defeat it in the House. This is no idle threat we are facing and it is coming from both sides of the political aisle. I urge you to call your Congressman and tell them they should vote against CISPA.

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About LD Jackson

LD Jackson has written 2053 posts in this blog.

Founder and author of the political and news commentary blog Political Realities. I have always loved to write, but never have I felt my writing was more important than in this present day. If I have changed one mind or impressed one American about the direction our country is headed, then I will consider my endeavors a success. I take the tag line on this blog very seriously. Above all else, in search of the truth.

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  • lou222

    LD, as usual they are trying to push or as the left says “nudge” us a bit for our own safety. We hear that from HHS and from Homeland security and look how protected we have been from our own DOJ! I feel so fortunate to have all this added security, NOT! It seems if they do it a little at a time, that most people will not complain. Then Dr. Paul has come to bat for the American people and as we normally see, he will be exposed as the one in the wrong, NOT the government. After listening to the audio you posted, what could possibly be crazy about what he said? However, that is how the media will make it out to be. After all, who would not want to be looked out for? They are only doing this for our common good. Give me a break, it is just in the long list of “things” to check off heading towards the total take-over of a country, period. Thanks for a good article this morning.

    • I have no doubt the media will play this off as Ron Paul being a crazy kook, but he is far from it. We would all do well to heed some of his warnings. Little by little, our freedoms are being taken away. The slide needs to be stopped.

      Thanks for the compliment, Lou. I appreciate the kind words.

  • Like all government actions over the past 100 years, it starts with a noble pretext and end with robbing us of more freedoms.

    We have the technology to do this without violating everyone’s 4th Amendment rights (which are pretty much gone now anyway). Our government is wasteful, intellectually lazy, and bereft of ideas.

    • I am of the opinion that most of the ideas they come up with are bad. Nothing good seems to come from them.

  • They just won’t give up trying to find a way to control the internet. The point you raised is a good one, Larry. Why so much interest in avoiding court orders?

    • I wish I could answer that question, Jim. They seem to have an aversion to the constitutional protections that have served us well in the past. It makes a fellow wonder.

    • lou222

      As in everything that has not passed the first time, we need to pay attention, because it will come back. Maybe it will be in the same form, but it also might be attached to something else and hidden. One way or another Jim, they will find a way to get what they want, won’t they?

      • They certainly don’t seem to be in the habit of giving up when their first attempt at something fails. They are also good about attaching something like this to one of this big spending bills that “has to be passed” at the end of the year, otherwise “the government will have to shut down”. I know every single piece of legislation can’t be passed through Congress by itself, but there should be a rule to limit the attaching of bills to another bill that isn’t even remotely related in nature.

  • It seems to me a mistake to give government more access to the personal information and activities of American citizens.

    • lou222

      Yep, big mistake! Huge! But what do I know!

    • Of course it is a mistake, but as Lou said, what do we know. The government seems fixated on knowing everything we do or say. I know we live in different times, but I can’t imagine this is a good thing.

  • This has to be stopped Larry, the government is getting out of control and this is the latest example. Sure the legislation may be well meaning, but that does not make it right. The government has been trying to get its hands in the internet and once it does it will only continue to extend its reach until the internet is no longer free. Our best chance to stop this is in the House, let us hope they do the right thing here and kill this bill.

    • Every few months, they come up with another piece of legislation or regulation to accomplish their goal of restricting the Internet. At the same time, they come up with another reason why it is necessary to do so. One has to wonder why they so fear what takes place online.

      • lou222

        We too easily can talk with people from one side of the country to the other, instantly. That is what they fear. They fear what we are doing right now. For example, you are out to the Southwest, me in the Mid-west and Steve out on the East coast, we can all meet and compare notes here and do it very easily. They don’t like that, they need to put a stop to it. So, they dream up the security issue for online and they can also watch what we do and say.

        • We have all portions of America covered. You already mentioned three of us and Harrison, from Capitol Commentary, is on the West Coast.

          It boils down to this. Good men and women have nothing to fear. Those who are up to no good, well that is a different story. Maybe that is why they are so worried about the freedom of the Internet.

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  • Once again, this is another case of looking at how a law will one day be abused. With this one, it won’t be a huge step.

    • So very true, Matt. It is something that has to be considered, for the future of our country.

  • This one is flying low under the radar, as well as a couple of other bills. We were able to push back the last attack, but no one is covering this one. Thanks for the update. I hear a couple of amendments are in the works, but of course they will not be posted for three days.

    • That’s the thing I hate about bills like this. There are a lot of rumors floating around about what it does or does not contain, or what it will or will not do. Amendments are supposedly being offered, but no one knows what those amendments say until the last minute. By then, it may be too late.

    • Even if this goes down in defeat, it needs to be watched closely. Congress has a habit of attaching these bills to other pieces of legislation at the end of the year. They will sneak it through if they can.

  • So much for reading to constitution on the House floor at the beginning of the 112th. It meant nothing to them. In 2010 the Republicans made a “Pledge to America.” In fact on page 33 of this pledge they stated the following:

    “For too long, Congress has ignored the proper limits imposed by the Constitution on the federal government. Further, it has too often drafted unclear and muddled laws, leaving to an unelected judiciary the power to interpret what the law means and by what authority the law stands. This lack of respect for the clear Constitutional limits and authorities has allowed Congress to create ineffective and costly programs that add to the massive deficit year after year. We will require each bill moving through Congress to include a clause citing the specific constitutional authority upon which the bill is justified.”

    How’s that working out for us?

    • It’s not working out well at all. I get the feeling they are ignoring the pledge they made to uphold the Constitution, much less their oath of office. I don’t understand how they can so blithely vote for some of these bills, all in the name of security.

  • Apparently Obama has said he’ll veto it so I guess he’s on our side?

    • I have heard that he said he would veto CISPA. I wouldn’t say he is on our side, but if he follows through with that threat, then I’ll take that victory.

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