CISPA: Big Brother's best friend forever

The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act passed the House yesterday, amended but barely improved. Here's what's still wrong with it

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However, the House did amend CISPA to keep private companies from sharing records detailing your library habits, tax returns, and any guns you've bought. Apparently reading, shooting, and paying taxes are not threats to cyber security.

CISPA isn't law -- yet. It still has to go to the Senate, where it could simply wither and die or be combined with several other competing cyber security bills (more likely the latter). And the Obama White House has threatened to veto it, though it's unclear if that threat still holds for an amended version of the bill.

The fight continues. But make no mistake: This is the most important digital legislation we've seen in a long time, possibly ever. As the ACLU notes:

Although a carefully crafted information sharing program that strictly limits the information to be shared and includes robust privacy safeguards could be an effective approach to cyber security, CISPA lacks such protections for individual rights. 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.

Big Brother will soon be following you on Twitter. When our only protection is the hope that Facebook or AT&T or Comcast won't voluntarily roll over and give Uncle Sam all our information, then we have no protection at all.

How does CISPA sound to you now? Weigh in below or email me:

This article, "CISPA: Big Brother's best friend forever," was originally published at Follow the crazy twists and turns of the tech industry with Robert X. Cringely's Notes from the Field blog, and subscribe to Cringely's Notes from the Underground newsletter.

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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