CISPA Is Surveillance Bill, Says EFF
CISPA, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act is a surveillance bill, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF). CISPA recently passed the House of Representatives and is on its way to the Senate. Internet privacy advocates are concerned about the liberal sharing of information permitted under CISPA; the sharing of information that ostensibly is designed to improve the nation’s ability to protect it cyber resources. According to the EFF, CISPA is simply another attempt by the government to interfere with people’s ability to use the Internet freely and with a reasonable expectation of privacy.
What is CISPA?
CISPA has raised the ire of many different organizations concerned with civil liberties. This bill would allow private corporations to share information about their customers much more easily with the government. This is not the first bill of its kind, nor is this the first time that collusion between private companies and the government – with or without supervision by the courts – has alarmed privacy advocates, civil rights advocates and everyday people concerned about their right to use the Internet without being spied upon by the government.
The EFF is vowing to continue the fight against the bill as it moves forward in Congress, according to a press release by the organization. The vague wording of the bill has been cited as one of the reasons for concern by privacy advocates. Already, security organizations including the NSA have been caught tapping into Internet lines and harvesting data with little regard to whether or not privacy rights were being violated. A whistleblower reported such spying to the media at a major Internet hub in San Francisco several years ago. While the names of the bills have changed over the years, privacy advocates have constantly been fighting back attempts by the government to streamline the process of getting information from private corporations about Internet usage habits.
National security is not the only justification that has been used for these bills. Copyright infringement has also been used as a justification to make it easier for government and private agencies to spy on the Internet use habits of customers. This summer, industry groups will begin monitoring the usage of private users to try to detect and deter Internet privacy. Bills that were designed to make it easier for the government to shut down websites at the behest of the entertainment industry—SOPA and PIPA—were abandoned after massive Internet-based protests against what participants said was an unfair intrusion into their Internet usage, an intrusion that could be a threat once again under CISPA. VPN services and other encryption technology are among the solutions for those who wish to avoid being spied upon.