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.’”
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.
GOP Presidential candidate Rick Santorum has a freedom problem. He says there is too much freedom on the Internet and it should be regulated. He was the only candidate that did not take a strong stand against SOPA and PIPA and called for regulating the Internet and said freedom should be limited. He called those that want limited government “radical individualism”. Rick Santorum is no conservative. Don’t be fooled by this authoritarian masquerading as a conservative.
“They have this idea that people should be left alone, be able to do whatever they want to do, government should keep our taxes down and keep our regulations low, that we shouldn’t get involved in the bedroom, we shouldn’t get involved in cultural issues.
That is not how traditional conservatives view the world. There is no such society that I’m aware of, where we’ve had radical individualism and that it succeeds as a culture.”
Congress needs to hear from you, or these dangerous bills will pass – they have tremendous lobbying dollars behind them, from large corporations reportedly hoping to prop up outdated, anti-consumer business models at the expense of the very fabric of the Internet — recklessly unleashing a tsunami of take-down notices and litigation, and a Pandora’s jar of “chilling effects” and other unintended (or perhaps intended?) consequences.
Monster Cable considers craigslist a “rogue site” for takedown under PIPA – they want to prevent YOU from selling your unwanted cables so they can increase sales! Many other “rights holders” want to do the same. Boycott anyone? There is an app for that.
Corporations pushing SOPA/PIPA want the ability to block you from reaching any web site they feel might be hurting their profits — without due process of any kind, or review in any court — by literally interrupting all Internet traffic to those sites via DNS at the ISPs and by censoring search engine results. Incredibly, many lawmakers want to give them that right.
Whether you’re for or against SOPA has become somewhat of a pain point amongst techies, with the overwhelming majority, including myself and almost every other writer on the TechCrunch team, leaning heavily towards “against.”
SOPA (the Stop Online Piracy Act) essentially allows ISPs to block entire domains because a piece of hosted content infringes copyright. As the bill approaches deliberation in House of Representatives next month, a steady stream of Internet companies have taken anti-SOPA stands. After all, sacrificing innovation to save a dying business model is a close as it gets to anathema in these parts.
Here’s a list all the publicly anti-SOPA tech/Internet companies I could find. Please add other ones you know of in the comments.
Apparently ignoring the widespread protests about both SOPA and PROTECT IP (PIPA) from the last few months (and the momentum growing against both bills), it was announced over the weekend that Harry Reid is seeking to override the hold on PIPA put forth by Senator Ron Wyden (along with Senators Jerry Moran, Maria Cantwell and Rand Paul) by seeking cloture. This isn’t a huge surprise. Last week Senator Reid had informed other Democratic Senators that he intended PROTECT IP to be the first bill he brought to the floor when the Senate returns for business in January.
The cloture vote will happen January 24th, 2012 just as the Senate comes back into session. That means there’s a little over a month where Hollywood is going to make every effort it can to get Senators over to its side. They need 60 Senators to betray the Constitution and to undermine a decade and a half’s work on online security for a plan that won’t actually help Hollywood at all. But, with Hollywood flinging money around DC like they’re making record revenues at the box office (which… um… they are), they’ve already got 40 Senators signed on. That means there’s a month to make sure 20 other Senators don’t betray their country, their economy and the internet.
In response to the Judiciary Committee members quietly pushing the markup proposal for SOPA to Wednesday, December 21, we hereby petition Google to make mention of SOPA on their front page. As the number one search engine and destination of American web users, you have the ability to make the average person quickly aware of the consequences of SOPA. Please help us, and help your own organization by putting a notice on your main page, the homepage of millions upon millions of people.
To all non-Americans: This may affect you too. Not only may some of the content you wish to view be in jeopardy, it may influence your government to take similar measures.
Last night I had a horrifying dream that a group of well-intentioned middle-aged people who could not distinguish between a domain name and an IP address were trying to regulate the Internet. Then I woke up and the Judiciary Committee’s SOPA hearings markup was on.
It’s exactly as we feared. For every person who appears to have some grip on the issue, there were three or four yelling at him.
“I’m not a nerd,” said Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D- Calif.). “I aspire to be a nerd.”
“I’m a nerd,” said Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.).
If I had a dime for every time someone in the hearing markup used the phrase “I’m not a nerd” or “I’m no tech expert, but they tell me . . .,” I’d have a large number of dimes and still feel intensely worried about the future of the uncensored Internet. If this were surgery, the patient would have run out screaming a long time ago. But this is like a group of well-intentioned amateurs getting together to perform heart surgery on a patient incapable of moving. “We hear from the motion picture industry that heart surgery is what’s required,” they say cheerily. “We’re not going to cut the good valves, just the bad — neurons, or whatever you call those durn thingies.”
This is terrifying to watch. It would be amusing — there’s nothing like people who did not grow up with the Internet attempting to ask questions about technology very slowly and stumbling over words like “server” and “service” when you want an easy laugh. Except that this time, the joke’s on us.
Tiffiniy from American Censorship sez, “Tomorrow, the US government will vote to have broad powers to block any site. SOPA would not only hurt free speech, it will choke off the internet workforce and its readers by taking down entire websites. Today is the only day we have left to have our voices heard. It’s time to pull all stops – please make a call right now to protest censorship. Your call matters. If you don’t call, SOPA will pass. If there is one call per minute into every one of our representatives, we have a chance of stalling SOPA enough so it dies for quite some time. Please call Congress now and tell them you oppose internet censorship and stifling the internet.
Right now, Congress is debating a law that would give them the power to censor the world’s Internet — creating a blacklist that could target YouTube, WikiLeaks and even groups like Avaaz!
Under the new law, the US could force Internet providers to block any website on suspicion of violating copyright or trademark legislation, or even failing to sufficiently police their users’ activities. And, because so much of the Internet’s hosts and hardware are located in the US, their blacklist would clamp down on the free web for all of us.
The vote could happen at any time now, but we can help stop this — champions in Congress want to preserve free speech and tell us that a global outcry would strengthen their hand, and one of them — Senator Wyden — says he will “filibuster” or block any vote on the bill by reading out our petition names until the clock runs out! Let’s urgently raise our voices from every corner of the world to build an unprecedented global petition. Sign the petition and send to everyone.