When CISPA reared its ugly head last year, it was soundly defeated. This year, not only is is back, it’s taking more swipes at individual privacy, passing in the House 288-127, with more representatives in favor of the bill and more supporters than last year. As the fight now shifts to the Senate, there are several interesting developments that Americans should be aware of before this bill becomes a law.
One of the most important issues comes from Representative Mike Rogers, who dismissed CISPA opponents as 14-year old tweeters on the internet in their parents’ basements.
Not only does Mr. Rogers not understand how the internet works, he doesn’t understand how anyone could be against this bill. Despite being the sponsor of the bill, Rogers can’t even keep straight as to whether or not the NSA will have access to your information (it will).
The EFF, one of the bigger opponents to CISPA gathered together a collection of people who aren’t fourteen to show Mike Rogers just who is against the bill.
One has to wonder, however if Representative Rogers is so pro-CISPA because his wife stands to benefit from its passing, because he took so much money from supporters of the bill, or if he really believes taking away peoples’ privacy is a good thing.
So it seems rather interesting to note that Rogers’ wife, Kristi Clemens Rogers, was, until recently, the president and CEO of Aegis LLC a “security” defense contractor company, whom she helped to secure a $10 billion (with a b) contract with the State Department. The company describes itself as “a leading private security company, provides government and corporate clients with a full spectrum of intelligence-led, culturally-sensitive security solutions to operational and development challenges around the world.”
Kristi Rogers is also the author of an article for Washington Life in which she declares it is with the utmost importance that cybersecurity legislation be passed. In it, she, and the magazine, never see the need to disclose that her husband is the one behind CISPA and is pushing for its passing in Congress.
Kristi Rogers recently changed jobs as well, such that she’s now the “managing director of federal government affairs and public policies” at Manatt, a big lobbying firm, where (surprise, surprise) she’s apparently focused on “executive-level problem solving in the defense and homeland security sectors.”
I’m sure the fact that he husband is pushing a bill that will create a lot of money for her present and past employers, as well as the Rogers has nothing to do with this at all. Since Kristi Rogers probably has some type of equity package from leaving Aegis, the Rogers will garner a lot of money should CISPA pass.
Just before the final push to vote on CISPA in the House of Representatives, IBM flew 200 senior executives to Washington to speak with legislators about the bill. After they arrived, the bill gained 36 new sponsors.
The IBM executives will pound the pavement on Capitol Hill Monday and Tuesday, holding nearly 300 meetings with lawmakers and staff. Over the course of those two days, their mission is to convince lawmakers to back a bill that’s intended to make it easier for industry and government to share information about cyber threats with each other in real time.
The technology services company runs the information technology networks of major hospitals, banks and electric companies—key infrastructure that lawmakers and security officials warn are top targets for hostile actors to launch a cyberattack.
Big Blue is also the top recipient of U.S. patents and owns a trove of valuable intellectual property that would be enticing to probing hackers looking to siphon valuable proprietary information. A report published by computer security firm Mandiant this year concluded that an elite military unit of Chinese hackers has allegedly cracked into the computer systems of more than 100 U.S. companies and stolen intellectual property.
Again, this comes down to money. IBM stands to gain a lot of it should CISPA pass, so they sent their executives to make sure the bill passed.
But companies are currently hesitant to share information about cyber threats they spot on computer networks with the government because they fear it may put them at risk for being sued. CISPA would address that concern, Padilla said, by granting companies liability protection from lawsuits if they share threat information with the government, allowing firms to get the assistance and data they need faster.
So, companies don’t want to share information because their customers (regular American citizens) might sue them for failing to protect their data. If CISPA becomes a law, all they have to do is tell the government and you can no longer sue them.
But the cyber information-sharing bill has rankled privacy advocates from Washington to Silicon Valley. One of their chief concerns with the bill is that it would allow companies to share threat information directly with the military, including the National Security Agency, without being required to take steps to remove personally identifiable information from that data. Privacy advocates warn that could lead to people’s email and IP addresses, names, and other personal information being inadvertently passed on to the NSA without their knowledge.
Congress doesn’t see what’s so bad about allowing the military or NSA have all your personal information. They still believe in that, if you have nothing to hide, you don’t have to worry about anything. Except that everyone has something to hide and, once your information is in a database, you can’t control how it’s used or how your information is connected to others.
The FBI has spent so much time creating its own fake plots against America that, when a real one occurs, they totally missed it. Yet, law enforcement and politicians are claiming that the bombing in Boston proves that we need more surveillance and that CISPA should be passed. CISPA, more surveillance, and every citizen under scrutiny isn’t ever going to change that. The more surveillance there is, the more likely someone is going to slip through the cracks. No one on Earth is ever 100% free from calamity. We can mitigate it as best we can, but eroding constitutional rights and privacy is not the way to do it. If we had been in such mortal danger, the Boston Police Department would not have told everyone to stay home unless they worked at Dunkin’ Donuts, in which case those places needed to stay open so the police could eat.
President Obama has threatened to veto CISPA, should it reach his desk. Whether or not CISPA passes, there is something you can do. Contact your senators before it gets to a vote in the senate. That may or may not help as, unfortunately, politicians only listen to money. On a personal level, take back your privacy yourself:
* Google Alternative: DuckDuckGo
* Digital P2P Currency: BitCoin
* Live Anonymous/Secure Linux: TAILS Linux
If you have any problems installing or using the above software, please contact the projects. They would love to get feedback and help you use their software.
Just want some simple tips? Checkout EFF’s Top 12 Ways to Protect Your Online Privacy.
This article originally appeared on The Daily Censored.