After the failures that were the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act,the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protect Intellectual Property Act, the suits in Washington, specifically the House of Representatives have seen fit, once again, to try to “tame” the internet with the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, or CISPA.
The bill, which has already passed in the House with 288 representatives in favor, 127 opposed and 17 abstaining, would allow the government access to any and all information held by technology and manufacturing companies. Companies like Apple for example, whose iPhones have always-on GPS systems, which, if CISPA passed, the government would have access to. Now I don’t know about you, but I’m not too fond of the idea of the government knowing exactly where I am for the rest of my life. The government assures the public that this knowledge would only be used to track to down hackers and the like. I want to believe that, but the bill just has too many loopholes allowing it to be misused.
The most disturbing part of this is that they wouldn’t even need a warrant, a direct violation of the fourth amendment which provides us with, and I quote “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized”. Now for those of you who just saw that as a bunch of old-timey talk, let me put that in a more modern perspective. The Fourth amendment basically says that the government can’t search you, your property, etc. without a warrant, and they can’t get a warrant unless they can find probable cause.
In addition to the voices of single citizens several websites have spoken out in opposition of CISPA, including self-proclaimed “front page of the internet” Reddit, Meme-based image sharing site Cheezburger Inc, the creators of the Firefox browser, Mozilla, and Imgur, another image sharing site. Perhaps most shocking, 4chan, the internet’s most wretched hive
of villainy and scum, whose users are often “warring” against sites like Cheezburger, Imgur, and Reddit, have put aside their differences to unite with the rest of these sites in opposition to CISPA.
Thankfully though, the Obama administration has declared their intention to veto this bill if it manages to reach the White House in its current form. Though there’s more good news, Obama may not even get a chance to veto CISPA, as the Senate is refusing to even vote on it. But CISPA will be back. Maybe not with the same name, but this is the third time in as many
years a bill like this has been proposed. Internet activists have won this battle, but we haven’t won the war. In the meantime, I leave you with the words of one of our founding fathers
“Those who would sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.” – Benjamin Franklin