Stop CISPA Before It’s Too Late
Published: Friday, April 20, 2012
Updated: Friday, April 20, 2012 17:04
Protecting the United States of America and every
American citizen at all costs is the most important
thing that the government can do. No one wants another
attack, like 9/11 or the first World Trade Center
attack in 1993, on U.S. soil ever again.
In fact, shortly after the 9/11 attacks, many citizens
agreed that they could give up a little bit of
their freedom in order to protect the U.S. from getting
The government did protect itself, except they
took a lot more than a “little bit” of freedom away
from citizens. Just weeks after the attacks, President
George W. Bush signed a bill known as the Patriot
Act into law with near-unanimous support by both
Democrats and Republicans.
The issue with the Patriot Act is when it came to
dealing the government’s power, an article on lifescript.
com highlighted that “it provides sweeping
power to government agencies to monitor the personal
habits of not only those who have been identified
as suspected terrorists, but anyone residing in
the United States as well as United States citizens
In other words, the government can key in on regular
citizens for investigation as it gives officials
leeway to do what they want -- even if they haven’t
been associated with terrorism!
Fast forward to 2012, and the government plans
to instill more restrictions on civil liberties where
Americans will have their “cyberlife” monitored.
The proposed bill is called the Cyber Intelligence
Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), and it’s currently
scheduled for a House of Representative floor
vote in the next week or so.
What this bill would do is give private companies
new ways to share information about cyber threats
with the government.
PCWorld.com laid out a fact sheet on what this bill
will do to cyber freedom called “CISPA Monitoring
Bill: Just the Facts.” The fact sheet mentioned that
companies would be encouraged to share their own
knowledge, though it wouldn’t be mandatory.
It also highlighted that “private companies would
only be allowed to use information to protect themselves
and their customers--not to gain a competitive
advantage--and, in doing so, would be protected
from lawsuits. The information shared would be exempted
from public disclosure.”
In other words, many companies such as Facebook,
Microsoft and Verizon -- all of whom support
this measure -- could fork over personal information
if it seemed like a threat to them and the government
without letting that individual know that they did.
Just imagine having your Facebook posts and your
photos sent to the government because Facebook is
checking to make sure their network is attack-free or
terrorist free without prior consent.
Facebook denies that they would send people’s
personal information to the government and that this
bill just protects the company is complete nonsense.
Of course, Facebook will say that. They aren’t
going to say that they’ll fork over personal information.
There’s just too much vague wording in this bill
and it allows law enforcement and government officials
to interpret it the way they want. Not to mention
that the bill violates the 1st Amendment, which
entitles citizens to freedom of speech and expression,
and it’ll most definitely violate the 4th Amendment,
which guards against unreasonable search and
Everyone wants terrorism to go away, and some
people are willing to bend the rules to catch terrorists.
But how much do American citizens have to
suffer and deal with when it comes to their freedom?
Not everyone is a terrorist or a threat to national
The White House seems to have concerns about
the bill, too, and many citizens and advocacy groups
also oppose this measure, such as the Electronic
Frontier Foundation (EFF) and the American Civil
Liberties Union (ACLU). The PCWorld fact sheet
also mentioned “by using vague language, the EFF
argues that companies could use the bill to filter
content, monitor e-mails, and block access to websites.”
“We just want people to know that Congress is on
the verge of giving the government incredible new
authorities to collect sensitive and personal Internet
information and emails,” said Michelle Richardson,
a legislative counsel for the ACLU, in a quote to
So what can be done to stop this bill from becoming
Citizens need to educate their local Congressman
about CISPA and what can happen if it becomes a
reality. To do that, he or she needs to be emailed and
Another way to stop this bill is to have people
sign a petition and spread awareness. In other words,
make a Facebook page or a blog about the pitfalls of