Pay Attention – CISPA Affects You!

Video Cameras Lisa Sullivan

A bit of an introduction – those that know me also know that I dislike talking politics for the simple reason of the MESSY discussions that tend to take place surrounding the topic. This is not so much a political piece as it is meant to be informational. Every single United States citizen needs to be aware of this piece of legislation because it affects your privacy online. Please read on.

There is a good chance that most of you reading this haven’t heard of the re-introduction of this congressional Bill – CISPA. I say re-introduction simply because it was killed last year for a multitude of reasons, including the threat the White House had made for vetoing it because in its current form (at that time) it would not have provided protection for U.S. citizens, in general. But, wouldn’t you know it – Congress brings the sucker back up again and NOW it’s passed the Senate.

CISPA, or the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, aims to help the government react to cyber security threats by essentially allowing for voluntary information to be shared between private companies and the government.

OK…so what? It has to do with companies and the government, you say. Well, dig a little deeper.

Opponents of the bill say that thanks to some vague wording it would allow for private companies to hand over your private information (including search habits, emails received and sent, Facebook posts, etc.) without ANY assurance that the information being shared wouldn’t be “anonymized” first thereby protecting the user – YOU.

Add to this that there was a LAST MINUTE amendment that DID NOT PASS that would have banned employers from requiring your usernames and passwords prior to employment.

Yes, you read that right!

Now…similar legislation exists in other states (Maryland and California, for example) that bans that practice, but it’s not federally supported at the moment. CISPA does not have any provisions in its current form that would discourage this practice…or better yet, make it illegal for employers to do so.

And that’s where the majority of the population SHOULD BE concerned.

Let’s be honest, BIG Brother has been watching for decades. This should not be a surprise. Our every movement online is tracked. What CISPA allows for is private companies and the government to work together to thwart a cyber attack and in so doing, it essentially shares your private data without protecting you. That’s what it boils down to. There were amendments that should have been passed and they were not. Now, the Bill goes to the House.

The White House is still threatening to veto it if the provisions they have requested aren’t included. So, there is a chance the Bill could die this year too.

Regardless, you NEED to pay attention and you NEED to contact YOUR Senator and Representative if you are concerned about your Constitutional right to privacy, Free Speech, etc.

Here are some great reads to investigate this topic further –

In my opinion, this is no joke. I get that as a country we need to do what we can to protect ourselves, but NOT at the expense of our privacy. CISPA needs to be amended or re-written again to incorporate protections for the ordinary citizen.

And most certainly, employers should NOT expect prospective employees to hand over passwords. We do that and we might as well hand over our snail mail, every phone number we have in our contact database, and perhaps any used toilet paper before we flush too. Seriously. This is not appropriate.

What are your thoughts? Please leave a comment below.

NOTE ABOUT COMMENTS This is a personal blog. As such, I do appreciate your comments but I am not looking to hear about your political agenda, and I definitely don’t wish to see any personal bashing on your part for any particular member of government either. Rather, I prefer to enlist dialog that is objective, rational, and intelligent. If you can’t do that, your comment will not be approved (or removed). If you can’t do that, you are more than welcome to open your own blog too! WordPress.com will happily take your new account. šŸ™‚

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