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.
CISPA specifically seeks to encourage Web companies and U.S. intelligence agencies to share more information with each other about cybersecurity threats, including, potentially, personally identifiable information about Web users.
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.
CISPA, however, would seek to allow for increased information sharing without going through such steps.
“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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.