CISPA is Back…with a Vengeance

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It was privacy bill that Congress debated (and ultimately defeated) last year. Well, don’t look now, because it’s back.

CISPA (Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act) allows private businesses and the government to share information about cyberthreats to prevent and defend against network and Internet attacks.

The bill allows companies to look at your private information and hand this information over to the government (or other businesses) with no judicial oversight at all. Basically, as long as the company says it’s related to “cybersecurity,” your private information is now government property.

The Problem with CISPA

The main problem with CISPA is that it grants immunity to companies who share private user information with the NSA (National Security Agency), a government agency that operates in secret with no public accountability.

It supersedes all other privacy laws, such as the Cable Communications Policy Act, the Wiretap Act, the Video Privacy Protection Act, and the Electronic Communications Privacy Act.

These laws include judicial oversight to make sure that companies do not unnecessarily share your private information.

CISPA would effectively make these laws moot in regards to your privacy.

If CISPA passes, any company (such as Facebook, Google, or Amazon) could share your private information (such as email, text messages, or private files stored on the cloud) with other companies or the government as long as they determine that is being done for cybersecurity purposes.

In a nutshell, the language in CISPA is so broad that it allows almost any action taken by a company to be a “cybersecurity purpose.”

So a company can hand over your personal information to the government for almost any reason whatsoever. But there is almost no protection if a company improperly hands over this information to the government.

Even if a company improperly hands over your private data to the government, the government does not have to notify the user, only the company.

In other words, you will have no idea if your private information is improperly turned over to the government.

For or Against?

Right now, most social media companies like Facebook have not endorsed this bill. But many telecommunication companies like AT&T and Verizon have endorsed it.

Do you agree or disagree with CISPA? If you want your voice heard either way, be sure to  call or write your Congressperson.

 

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Kent Lawson

Kent Lawson is the CEO & Chairman of Private Communications Corporation and creator of its flagship software PRIVATE WiFi. He combined his extensive business and technical experience to develop PRIVATE WiFi in 2010. The software is an easy-to-use Virtual Private Network (VPN) that protects your sensitive personal information whenever you’re connected to a public WiFi network. Follow Kent on Twitter: @KentLawson.