Hi Everyone, and welcome to Tricipian’s!

I’m going to try to make this as short as possible, so we can start discussing. The topic today is H.R. 3523 or commonly known as CISPA, a new bill that the US Congress is trying to pass. The following link is to the GovTrack website where you can read the full text of the bill, among a lot of other interesting information. I have a notecard with the summary if you want it, but it’s pretty long so I won’t paste it here:

It is feared that CISPA is far worse than SOPA and PIPA in its possible effects on the Internet. Critics say that CISPA would give any federal entity that claims it is threatened by online interactions the ability to take action against the “perpetrator”. Without notifying the parties concerned. While this paper has been created under the guise of being a necessary weapon in the U.S. war against cyberattacks, the wording of the paper is vague and broad. It is thought that the act could allow Congress to circumvent existing exemptions to online privacy laws and would allow the monitoring and censorship of any user and also stop online communications which they deem disruptive to the government or to private parties.

The Avaaz team, who have started a petition against the bill, say: “Under the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), if a cyber threat is even suspected, companies we use to access the Internet will have the right to collect information on our activities, share that with the government, refuse to notify us that we are being watched and then use a blanket immunity clause to protect themselves from being sued for violation of privacy or any other illegal action.”

If you are interested, the petition can be signed here (you don’t have to live in the USA):

It could threaten the types of information we can access online, as well as our privacy and freedom of speech.

CISPA places absolutely no explicit limits on the type of information that may be shared with the government, or between private companies, as long as it is somehow related to cyber threats.

However, as Andrew Couts at Digital Trends says, “For most people, sharing information about ourselves is just the way things work nowadays. We post every aspect of our lives online, from what we’re eating to our location to all the gritty details of last night. These companies already know all our secrets. In other words: privacy just ain’t what it used to be.”

Facebook, Microsoft, Oracle, IBM, Intel, AT&T, Verizon — and many others, have sent letters to congress voicing support for CISPA.

Here’s some links to articles about the bill:

What do you think about it?