Civil Libertarians Launch Campaign Against CISPA


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Congress is rolling out the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) and related legislation in a set of votes next week under the banner of "Cybersecurity Week."  

"Stop Cyber Spying Week" is the ACLU and other rights organizations' response to the legislation, which would allow online companies to share information collected about you to the government. 

The companies that'd be sending the information to the government, predictably, aren't opposing CISPA with the same vigor as they did SOPA. Nevertheless, the ACLU and others hope to be able to replicate the online activism that led to SOPA's demise.

CISPA's supporters assert the program is for "voluntary" information sharing between private companies and the government's security apparatus. These companies collect a lot of private information from their consumers, and the government, it would seem, would simply want access to this information for national security purposes.

This "voluntary" information sharing program comes in the wake of a recent rules change at the National Counterterrorism Center that allows the government to hold records collected on you for five years, ten times the previous 180 day limit, whether or not you're the target of an investigation or suspected of anything criminal at all. It could explain why the NSA's latest "surveillance hub" is a $2 billion, 1,000,000 square foot project. 

SOPA was roundly criticized for letting media companies and the government team up to shut down websites accused of copyright infringement without due process. CISPA, on the other hand, merely formalizes the relationship between the government's security apparatus and the private companies we willingly share our private information with. But CISPA erodes the right to due process as well. After all, who needs a warrant when the sharing is voluntary?

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  1. It doesn’t matter how many times this shit gets shouted down. Congress has decided it wants to do an end run around the Constitution regarding online info, and it will keep trying until it passes. It knows it just has to wait for the people to get tired of being vigilant and mustering up the energy again and again to make enough of a stink.

    It’s only a matter of time. Remember, the Constitution is nothing but a piece of paper.

    1. It is an OLD piece of paper.

      1. They should scan it and destroy the old copies. With special OCR technology that translates that old language into something meaningful to people today. In fact, I have the entire translation right here:

        “Congress shall make laws.”

        1. Ndz mor txt:

          “Cngrs shl mk lws~~~TLSTA!”


        2. You know, all snark aside, it’s kind of astounding that the first words in the most important document of our government says “Congress shall make no law…”

          Think about that.

          1. Think about that.

            I do. I wish I was on the Senate Judiciary Committee.

            I would have only one question for judicial candidates of any level:

            “Please, sir or madame, show me the ambiguity of the statement ‘Congress shall make no law…'”

            Anything less than, “There is no ambiguity,” gets an instant no vote. Any yes votes, instant filibuster.

          2. Umm that’s not how the Constitution begins.

            The preamble is “we the people”

            Article 1 begins “All legislative powers”

            1. Perhaps he considers the Bill of Rights a separate document, and one that is more important than the Constitution.

    2. It’s only a matter of time. Remember, the Constitution is nothing but a piece of paper.

      And the internet is just tubes! Which are much more easily tapped than a bunch of high-falutin, encrypted VPNs and SSL tunnels with prioritized traffic shaping.

    3. When we have the technology, could we resurrect the censor idea proposed the other day in the form of a robot aptly named “Constitution” who’s only job would be to wander the halls of power mercilessly beating politicians for calling it “only a piece of paper?” We’ll need it to negotiate with the killer drones anyways.

      1. You mean the Censor as Assassin?

        1. It shall not be programmed to kill, only to maim, preferably only in hilarious ways. Is there a name for that?

          1. This kind of hilarity? Warning: graphic image and stupidity.

          2. You mean this kind of hilarity?. Warning: graphic image and stupidity.

          3. Do you mean this kind of hilarity?


            Warning: graphic image and stupidity

              1. I prefer suit – a suit made to crack nuts. All legislators must wear such suits when at work. Said nutcrackin’ can be turned off/on by a popular online vote.

                1. CSPAN will then be the most popular station.

                2. I’m a traditionalist. I envision a large, iron robot that tars and feathers recalcitrant politicians. The tar comes from its built-in cauldron; the feathers shot out of its innards by a very powerful built-in blower.

                  1. Make it steam powered. And something with dirigibles.

                    1. Screw that. It’s nuke all the way.

                      Yes to dirigibles. It’ll use those to travel large distances. Like in those old horror movies, where the monster came at you slowly, but never stopped coming.

                    2. Screw that. It’s nuke all the way.

                      It’s widely known I’m Pro-Stone Burners.

                    3. Which can only operate with nuclear fuel.

          4. Its right hand is a barbed-wire cat o’ nine tales, its left a pear of anguish that sprays bleach.

            1. It should have a branding capability, which would allow it to brand the sinner with the constitutional provision that was violated.

              1. The brand should just be the infinity symbol.

              2. I like the idea of branding, though I think tattooing might be a more workable solution. This of course would negate the need for term limits as the overtly power hungry would need to be old enough to foster the connections to get themselves elected, just like now, but also young and healthy enough to brave the punishment of the Censor without going into shock or cardiac arrest.

                1. Does tattooing hurt more than branding? Because that’s all I care about.

              3. A cross between a dot-matrix printer and a nail-gun. And it should be shaped like the gnashing robot genitals that chase you in your nightmares every time you go to sleep.

                1. So long as the tarring and feathering are preserved, I’m okay with this.

                2. It must have a suitably old-timey robot voice. Like a Dalek, but not some lame a British. Can’t think of a good example off the top of my head.

                  1. PL, my contention is that it will hurt either way, but it must be legible for a long time; for the people.

                    1. I’ll leave those details to the professionals. Pain, legibility, permanency.

                      And Chuck Heston.

              4. Some of them would run out of flesh quickly.

                1. Only the first generation. It would be a self correcting trend in a few election cycles.

                2. Occupational hazard. Serving in public office is a privilege, not a right. And it’s our privilege to make them suffer.

                  1. This might also shift the emphasis of office from “getting things done” to being healthy and physically fit enough to survive, hopefully this eats up enough time that they can’t actually get anything done. Also everyone gets one staffer, that’s it. Can’t have those weaselly interns beating the system.

                    1. The ability to elude the Pythonator will also be an important survival trait.

    4. The A-Bomb of the 21at century is the still hypothetical quantum computer. In theory a machine so powerful it will be able to crack any encryption known.

      I tend to think that if this hype is true, our government will be less upset about the possibility of Russians reading our secrets than it will about ordinary Americans.

      1. Can a quantum computer encrypt a qubit that cannot be unencrypted rapidly? Honest question, I understand why digital encryption is doomed, but not whether this dooms all encryption schemes.

        1. Digital encryption is only theoretically doomed. If the right kind of computational engine is invented, yadda yadda.

  2. Ceiling cat preserve us! Basement cat take their soulz!

  3. If it saves only one life, it’s worth it.

    With SOPA, it was easy to get a bunch of hipsters all riled up about taking away free digital file swapping. But once you invoke counterterrorism, most debate over the merit of the bill is moot. Unfortunately for us.

    1. This is exactly what I was saying last week. People only get good and worked up when you take away what they think of as free stuff. Most of these people don’t really care if you start kicking around their personal info, they’ve already willingly put most of it on their Facebook page anyway.

  4. Why isn’t Congress worried about real threats? Like swan assassins?

    1. Sounds like suicide, frankly.


        Swans and Canadian geese should be slaughtered swiftly, and without mercy.

        1. I was attacked by a swan once when I was taking a walk around a lake with my husband-to-be. It was scary as hell. The attack thing sounds stupid and trivial, but those fuckers are BIG, HEAVY and scary when they’re launching themselves at you.

          1. Now you know how Leda felt.

      2. Anything that can terrorize a goose is a bad motherfucker. I’ve seen 80lb dogs who want no part of an angry goose. I’ve heard that badgers have been known to run from a fight with a goose. Chuck Norris thinks twice before fighting a gaggle of excited geese.

        1. Geese do not seem to be highly evasive when they have attack on their mind. From my experience.

          This makes them easy to strike. Kick him in the face.

        2. Meh. I know one thing: If I were homeless, one way or another I’d be eating roast Canada goose every night around the fire.

  5. Stop Resisting!

  6. Time for the classic “If you haven’t done anything wrong…” quote.

  7. Also, KITTIES!

  8. I can haz privacy? Wow, I didn’t know kitten knew of the existence of Wikileaks.

    1. Kittehleaks?

  9. CISPA = yet another butt-fucking courtesy of the Obama Administration.

    Own it, Team Blue.

    1. Fuck you, you mouth breathing redneck. How dare you besmirch President Obama you fucking christfag.


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