Up until this afternoon, the final vote on CISPA was supposed to be tomorrow. Then, abruptly, it was moved up today—and the House voted in favor of its passage with a vote of 248-168. But that’s not even the worst part.
The vote followed the debate on amendments, several of which were passed. Among them was an absolutely terrible change (pdf and embedded below—scroll to amendment #6) to the definition of what the government can do with shared information, put forth by Rep. Quayle. Astonishingly, it was described as limiting the government’s power, even though it in fact expands it by adding more items to the list of acceptable purposes for which shared information can be used. Even more astonishingly, it passed with a near-unanimous vote. The CISPA that was just approved by the House is much worse than the CISPA being discussed as recently as this morning.
Previously, CISPA allowed the government to use information for “cybersecurity” or “national security” purposes. Those purposes have not been limited or removed. Instead, three more valid uses have been added: investigation and prosecution of cybersecurity crime, protection of individuals, and protection of children. Cybersecurity crime is defined as any crime involving network disruption or hacking, plus any violation of the CFAA.
Basically this means CISPA can no longer be called a cybersecurity bill at all. The government would be able to search information it collects under CISPA for the purposes of investigating American citizens with complete immunity from all privacy protections as long as they can claim someone committed a “cybersecurity crime”. Basically it says the 4th Amendment does not apply online, at all. Moreover, the government could do whatever it wants with the data as long as it can claim that someone was in danger of bodily harm, or that children were somehow threatened—again, notwithstanding absolutely any other law that would normally limit the government’s power.
The US House of Representatives has just passed the controversial Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, or CISPA (HR 3523) by a vote of 248 to 168. The bill passed mostly along party lines, backed by House Republicans. While the bill is intended to safeguard the US against “cyber threats,” critics say that it is too vague and broad, and would give government and military intelligence agencies the ability to inspect private data without the use of warrants. While the bill hasn’t garnered the same level of outrage as SOPA did in recent months from companies like Google or Facebook (Facebook supports CISPA), web advocates have been vocal in their opposition to the bill.
The Obama administration has already strongly opposed CISPA and threatened to veto it, so it’s not likely that this particular version of the bill will pass. The White House says that the bill lacks civilian oversight and privacy protections, and that “without clear legal protections and independent oversight, information sharing legislation will undermine the public’s trust in the government as well as in the internet by undermining fundamental privacy, confidentiality, civil liberties, and consumer protections.” Still, the White House has signaled that it is interested in some form of cyber security bill, so this won’t likely be its final act.
Occupy Wall Street has been told that Obama plans to veto this bill if it goes before him, so that’s good. But who are these 248 representatives passing this bill? The people have already spoken on this bill. The only thing I can think of is that they are obligated to because their lobbyists and Hollywood has financially been treating them too well. I can’t wait for things to change in the future when people wise up and get these scum, who can be bought, out of office.
President Barack Obama has announced fresh sanctions against Iran, Syria and those who help them use technology to perpetrate human rights abuses.
The executive order creates sanctions against the government of Syria and Iran “and those who abet them, for using technologies to monitor, target and track its citizens for violence”.
“These technologies should be in place to empower citizens, not to repress them,” said Mr Obama.
And yet we have CISPA.
What about the citizens of the US? Will we be taking sanctions against the companies and organizations that track and monitor us? Against those that provide the tools and technologies to do so?
More to the point: Will the US government sanction itself?
The open internet group EFF has warned that CISPA’s broad wording could class many routine internet activities, such as using encryption on emails or enabling anonymity using a service called TOR, as potential threats.
“Any existing legal protections of user privacy will be usurped by CISPA,” the EFF claims. “The bill clearly states that the information may be shared ‘notwithstanding any other provision of law.’”
CISPA could allow any private company to share vast amounts of sensitive, private data about its customers with the government.
CISPA would override all other federal and state privacy laws, and allow a private company to share nearly anything—from the contents of private emails and Internet browsing history to medical, educational and financial records—as long as it “directly pertains to” a “cyber threat,” which is broadly defined.
CISPA does not require that data shared with the government be stripped of unnecessary personally-identifiable information. A private company may choose to anonymize the data it shares with the government. However, there is no requirement that it does so—even when personally-identifiable information is unnecessary for cybersecurity measures. For example, emails could be shared with the full names of their authors and recipients. A company could decide to leave the names of its customers in the data it shares with the government merely because it does not want to incur the expense of deleting them. This is contrary to the recommendations of the House Republican Cybersecurity Task Force and other bills to authorize information sharing, which require companies to make a reasonable effort to minimize the sharing of personally-identifiable information.
CISPA would allow the government to use collected private information for reasons other than cybersecurity. The government could use any information it receives for “any lawful purpose” besides “regulatory purposes,” so long as the same use can also be justified by cybersecurity or the protection of national security. This would provide no meaningful limit—a government official could easily create a connection to “national security” to justify nearly any type of investigation.
CISPA would give Internet Service Providers free rein to monitor the private communications and activities of users on their networks. ISPs would have wide latitude to do anything that can be construed as part of a “cybersecurity system,” regardless of any other privacy or telecommunications law.
CISPA would empower the military and the National Security Agency (NSA) to collect information about domestic Internet users. Other information sharing bills would direct private information from domestic sources to civilian agencies, such as the Department of Homeland Security. CISPA contains no such limitation. Instead, the Department of Defense and the NSA could solicit and receive information directly from American companies, about users and systems inside the United States.
CISPA places too much faith in private companies, to safeguard their most sensitive customer data from government intrusion. While information sharing would be voluntary under CISPA, the government has a variety of ways to pressure private companies to share large volumes of customer information. With complete legal immunity, private companies have few clear incentives to resist such pressure. There is also no requirement that companies ever tell their customers what they have shared with the government, either before or after the fact. As informed consumers, Americans expect technology companies to have clear privacy policies, telling us exactly how and when the company will use and share our personal data, so that we can make informed choices about which companies have earned our trust and deserve our business.
Right now, the US Congress is sneaking in a new law that gives them big brother spy powers over the entire web — and they’re hoping the world won’t notice. We helped stop their Net attack last time, let’s do it again.
Over 100 Members of Congress are backing a bill (CISPA) that would give private companies and the US government the right to spy on any of us at any time for as long as they want without a warrant. This is the third time the US Congress has tried to attack our Internet freedom. But we helped beat SOPA, and PIPA — and now we can beat this new Big Brother law.
Our global outcry has played a leading role in protecting the Internet from governments eager to monitor and control what we do online. Let’s stand together once again — and beat this law for good. Sign the petition then forward to everyone who uses the Internet!
Just because SOPA and PIPA, the infamous internet “kill switch” bills, are largely dead does not mean the threat to internet free speech has become any less serious. TheCyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act(CISPA), also known as H.R. 3523, is the latest mutation of these internet censorship and spying bills to hit the U.S. Congress — and unless the American people speak up now to stop it, CISPA could lead to far worse repercussions for online free speech than SOPA or PIPA ever would have.
CNET, the popular technology news website that was among many others who spoke up against SOPA and PIPA earlier in the year, including Occupy Wall Street, is also one of many now sounding the alarm about CISPA, which was authored by Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) and Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.). Though the bill’s promoters are marketing it as being nothing like SOPA or PIPA, CISPA is exactly like those bills, except worse.
What CISPA will do, if passed, is remove all the legal barriers that currently stop internet service providers, government agencies, and others from arbitrarily spying on internet users. In the name of “cybersecurity,” a term that is undefined in the bill, CISPA will essentially allow internet users to be surveilled by the government without probable cause or a search warrant, which is a clear violation of users’ constitutional civil liberties.
Additionally, it will allow websites like Google, Facebook, and Twitter to intercept emails, text messages, and other private information that might be considered a threat to “cybersecurity.” The government can then demand access to this information, even if it has nothing to do with copyright infringement, which is one of the excuses being used for why such a bill is needed in the first place.
First Rick Santorum slipped out of the race for the GOP nomination, and next Newt Gingrich said he would support Romney but would still run. But what about Ron Paul’s quest for the White House?
According to the latest bulletin from the campaign headquarters of the Texas congressman, Ron Paul is still in the race and rolling in the bucks.
Republican Party presidential hopeful Ron Paul is still polling strong among many demographics and shows no sign of slowing down. At least if his bank records have anything to do with it. The candidate’s camp announced on Friday that so far in 2012 his campaign has managed to bring in almost $10.4 million in contributions from donors determined to keep the congressman in the GOP race.
Those funds won’t be funneled to pay off earlier spending, either. His officials say that in addition to the big bucks that came in for the first quarter, the Ron Paul campaign has zero debt at this point in the race. Compare that to Republican Party rival and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich who was reportedly in the hole to the tune of $4.5 million last week, according to an article published by Slate.
As Ron Paul and Gingrich are now left as the only viable Republican alternative to Mitt Romney, Gingrich’s chances might soon run dry as his pocketbook does the same. Will Paul have a chance to pull through against the frontrunner, though?
Note: Occupy Wall Street couldn’t be happier that Ron Paul is still in this. He might not win, because most people are stupid, but how awesome would it be to see him debate Obama?
Last year, over 850,000 people in America were arrested for marijuana-related crimes. Despite public opinion, the medical community, and human rightsexperts all moving in favor of relaxing marijuana prohibition laws, little has changed in terms of policy.
There have been many great books and articles detailing the history of the drug war. Part of America’s fixation with keeping the leafy green plant illegal is rooted in cultural and political clashes from the past.
However, we at Republic Report think it’s worth showing that there are entrenched interest groups that are spending large sums of money to keep our broken drug laws on the books:
1.) Police Unions: Police departments across the country have become dependent on federal drug war grants to finance their budget. In March, we published a story revealing that a police union lobbyist in California coordinated the effort to defeat Prop 19, a ballot measure in 2010 to legalize marijuana, while helping his police department clients collect tens of millions in federal marijuana-eradication grants. And it’s not just in California. Federal lobbying disclosures show that other police union lobbyists have pushed for stiffer penalties for marijuana-related crimes nationwide.
2.) Private Prisons Corporations: Private prison corporations make millions by incarcerating people who have been imprisoned for drug crimes, including marijuana. As Republic Report’s Matt Stoller noted last year, Corrections Corporation of America, one of the largest for-profit prison companies, revealed in a regulatory filing that continuing the drug war is part in parcel to their business strategy. Prison companies have spent millions bankrolling pro-drug war politicians and have used secretive front groups, like the American Legislative Exchange Council, to pass harsh sentencing requirements for drug crimes.
3.) Alcohol and Beer Companies: Fearing competition for the dollars Americans spend on leisure, alcohol and tobacco interests have lobbied to keep marijuana out of reach. For instance, the California Beer & Beverage Distributors contributed campaign contributions to a committee set up to prevent marijuana from being legalized and taxed.
4.) Pharmaceutical Corporations: Like the sin industries listed above, pharmaceutical interests would like to keep marijuana illegal so American don’t have the option of cheap medical alternatives to their products. Howard Wooldridge, a retired police officer who now lobbies the government to relax marijuana prohibition laws, told Republic Report that next to police unions, the “second biggest opponent on Capitol Hill is big PhRMA” because marijuana can replace “everything from Advil to Vicodin and other expensive pills.”
5.) Prison Guard Unions: Prison guard unions have a vested interest in keeping people behind bars just like for-profit prison companies. In 2008, the California Correctional Peace Officers Association spent a whopping $1 million to defeat a measure that would have “reduced sentences and parole times for nonviolent drug offenders while emphasizing drug treatment over prison.”
Occupy Wall Street says it’s time to end the drug war. It’s a losing battle that can never be won. It does A LOT more bad than good. It’s time to get with reality.
Here’s their next move: The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, or CISPA, would obliterate any semblance of online privacy in the United States. It’s up for a vote later this month.
CISPA demolishes existing barriers between the government and the private sector — and between government agencies — that restrict data sharing without cause, effectively allowing information about Americans’ use of the Internet to slosh back and forth uninhibited.
The Center for Democracy and Technology says, “CISPA has a very broad, almost unlimited definition of the information that can be shared with government agencies and it supersedes all other privacy laws.
Occupy Wall Street says we must do all we can to protect the internet. Stop CISPA now while you still can.
State lawmakers are calling for greater oversight of campus police departments after investigators blasted administrators and officers at the University of California, Davis, for pepper-spraying demonstrators—a police action that drew widespread criticism after a video went viral.
In a report released Wednesday, a UC Davis task force said the decision to douse seated Occupy protesters with the eye-stinging chemical was “objectively unreasonable” and not authorized by campus policy.
“The pepper-spraying incident that took place on Nov. 18, 2011, should and could have been prevented,” concluded the task force created to investigate the confrontation.
The chemical crackdown prompted widespread condemnation, campus protests and calls for the resignation of Chancellor Linda Katehi after videos shot by witnesses were widely played online. Images of an officer casually spraying orange pepper-spray in the faces of nonviolent protesters became a rallying point for the Occupy Wall Street movement.
Assembly Speaker John Perez, who sits on the UC Board of Regents, said in a statement that the report “shows the systemic and administrative problems that led up to an outrageous and excessive use of force against peaceful student demonstrators.”
New York Magazine’s Dan Amira notes that every candidate who proclaimed that God had told them to run for the presidency has lost. Herman Cain, Michele Bachmann, Rick Perry, and finally Rick Santorum all claimed at some point that God had endorsed them, yet they all lost to Mitt Romney.
Occupy Wall Street thinks it would be great if Mitt Romney were to drop out and let Ron Paul win.
THE drastic rise in the price of oil and gasoline is in part the result of forces beyond our control: as high-growth countries like China and India increase the demand for petroleum, the price will go up.
But there are factors contributing to the high price of oil that we can do something about. Chief among them is the effect of “pure” speculators — investors who buy and sell oil futures but never take physical possession of actual barrels of oil. These middlemen add little value and lots of cost as they bid up the price of oil in pursuit of financial gain. They should be banned from the world’s commodity exchanges, which could drive down the price of oil by as much as 40 percent and the price of gasoline by as much as $1 a gallon.
Today, speculators dominate the trading of oil futures. According to Congressional testimony by the commodities specialist Michael W. Masters in 2009, the oil futures markets routinely trade more than one billion barrels of oil per day. Given that the entire world produces only around 85 million actual “wet” barrels a day, this means that more than 90 percent of trading involves speculators’ exchanging “paper” barrels with one another.
Because of speculation, Occupy Wall Street says, today’s oil prices of about $100 a barrel have become disconnected from the costs of extraction, which average $11 a barrel worldwide. Pure speculators account for as much as 40 percent of that high price, according to testimony that Rex Tillerson, the chief executive of ExxonMobil, gave to Congress last year. That estimate is bolstered by a recent report from the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis.
Months after students at UC Davis were filmed being soaked in pepper spray and arrested by police in riot gear after peacefully protesting at their university, a UC Davis ‘task force’ has finally released a report on the incident today.
The report includes a number of criticisms against police and administrative action on the day stating, “The pepper spraying incident that took place on November 18, 2011 should and could have been prevented.” The report is critical of the actions of Police Chief Annette Spicuzza. It states, “the command and leadership structure of the UCDPD is very dysfunctional.”
The 190-page Reynoso Task Force Report said the use of pepper spray was “not supported by objective evidence and not authorized by policy.”
According to CBS News and Occupy Wall Street, the report finds:
The incident was not managed according to plan.
The pepper spray used (MK-9) was not an authorized weapon for UC Davis police officers and officers were not trained in how to use it.
Chancellor Linda Katehi bears responsibility for deploying police at 3 p.m. to remove tents rather than earlier in the day or the night before
Chancellor Katehi bears primary responsibility for failing to communicate her position that physical force should be avoided.
Lt. John Pike bears responsibility for the use of pepper spray on the students.
Of all this President’s many progressive achievements—the Lilly Ledbetter Act, Student Loan Reform, Health Care Reform, pulling out of Iraq—the one that isn’t mentioned enough in the feeds I follow is the the ending of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’
The DADT compromise enacted during the Clinton Administration made the closeting of gays and lesbians policy for the US military. It sent a message that homosexuals needed to lie or risk losing everything.
In one of the last acts of the Democratic majorities in the House and Senate, this ridiculous policy was ended – and Occupy Wall Street is happy. And the President signed the bill into law. It was a long overdue yet historic achievement for decency and equality.