SOPA has already been forgotten, though it was the last threat against your privacy, launched by the government against the American people. In November they launched another assault, called the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act. At the last minute an amendment was added that expanded the powers far beyond cyber protection. But then again, the crooks in Washington are always perpetrating such abuses on the American people.
CISPA paves the way for the U.S. government and private business to cooperate on security threats, as well as on suspicions of child pornography. It shields private companies from law suits for sharing clients’ private information and correspondence, with the U.S. government, when it is for the sake of national security or on suspicion of child pornography.
There are many interesting oversights here, not the least of which is why child pornography made it onto the list of crimes and not rape, drug cartels, corporate crimes, arson, death threats, etc… The five reasons that did make it were cybersecurity reasons, to investigate a cyber crime, for national security, to protect individuals from the danger of death or serious bodily injury, and for the protection of minors from child pornography and sexual exploitation.
Regardless of whether CISPA passes or not, we know our great government will repetitiously be hard at work drafting the next bill to rob us of our privacy. The government, and perhaps even many individuals among the American public, have rotted from the inside out. These people lack moral righteousness, but cloak themselves in the language of righteousness to achieve their wicked ends. Harsh language? Read further to decide for yourself.
The rhetoric of 9/11 will haunt us for a long time to come. We have been traumatized, and trauma clouds our thinking. When fear is the motivator, doing evil comes easily and we make brisk mistakes. The U.S. government knows that the U.S. public fears a repeat attack similar to 9/11. But consider who was attacked on that day. It was the wealthy in the Twin Towers of the financial sector of New York City and those at the Pentagon. The American public, the working class Joe, the average office worker, and children were not targeted. Yet the rhetoric implies that we should remember 9/11 as if each of us were individually attacked by terrorists. Those are not the facts of history.
Since 9/11, the U.S. government has been pushing bill after bill through to free up the law enforcement agencies so they are no longer supervised and controlled by the courts. The judicial system, the courts in particular, serve as an arbitrator between the people and the State, theoretically. Even prior to this stream of privacy depriving bills by the government against the people, we complained that the courts favored the government too much. Law enforcement saw it differently. To them, the courts only got in the way by requiring law enforcement agencies to prove their need to spy on a certain individual. So they turned to the Legislative branch to strip the courts of this power to supervise them. They do not want to show reason to spy on your private communication and to gather every tiny piece of your personal information without your consent.
The Patriot Acts I & II gave credence to the physical deprivation of rights, taking away the right to legal counsel and the right to be charged with a crime or released, but law enforcement needed more than that. They needed to be free to find someone to abuse before they knew they whether or not they were guilty – including the innocent public. That is where we are now with CISPA. It abuses every individual through the deprivation of privacy, through stripping the courts of their supervisory role over law enforcement’s privilege to invade an individual’s privacy. Who would be deciding whether the information warranted law enforcement intervention into privacy? The corporations, for God’s sake! Have we completely lost our minds?
The tech companies, including Microsoft and Facebook are in favor of CISPA, as are the Chamber of Commerce, the Republicans and 28 Democrats. They claim it is to stop foreign countries from looting U.S. companies through the Internet. How absurd can you get? Someone explain to me how a U.S. law can stop a foreign company on foreign soil from stealing from a U.S. company? Especially a law designed for exposing personal information of individuals in the U.S.? This assumes that U.S. companies are having their computers broken into and that something is being stolen AND that this something has commercial value. Those are a lot of big assumptions!
Explain to me how this kind of crime gets lumped in with child pornography? Are U.S. companies selling child pornography? Wow! That is a shock! Is that what foreigners are stealing from U.S. companies’ computers? Hmm.
One justification of the bill was child pornography, which is a witch hunt hot word in America since about 1995. In fact, there have been high profile cases where they arrested people on child pornography/molestation charges where they were sure the person was guilty, only to get egg on their faces when it was proven there was not a shred of evidence for it. Ok, there have not been many of these, but enough to raise red flags over the lack of objectivity in our law enforcement.
The biggest such case was the famous Wenatchee Sex Ring Hoax. This was the impetus for and a symbol of the rising hysteria over sexual abuse of children, even though it was a completely fraudulent event where 43 adults were charged with 29,726 counts against 60 children. Although they imprisoned the adults, higher courts overturned to local court’s decision. This raises the question of objectivity in the local judicial system. The entire case was based on the 13-year old daughter of the officer in charge of investigating the cases. Can you say “conflict of interest”?
These kinds of events have led us to where we are today – law enforcement exploiting children in order to rob average citizens of their right to privacy and their right against unwarranted search and seizure, such as bills, like CISPA, which strip citizens of protection from unwarranted search, seizure and imprisonment. It could happen to you. Now we are striping the supervisory role from the courts and giving private companies power to decide if police should investigate an individual, while shielding them against law suits for exposing their private information without warrant.
Not all of the Tech sector, though, is for the bill. Mozilla is against it, as is Reddit. Co-founder of Reddit, Alex Ohanian, sharply criticizes Facebook over CISPA support. His company is behind him 100%, since the freedom that CISPA threatens also threatens the existence of such companies as Reddit, according to Reddit General Manager Erik Martin.
Congressman Ron Paul is the highest profile politician speaking squarely against CISPA. He claims it is a direct assault against the First Amendment. He explains that the government is trying “to put private industry to work nefariously spying on the American people.” Jared Polis (D-Colorado) also made a stand against the bill, declaring it would erase all privacy laws that were enacted prior to CISPA, throughout history.
The American Civil Liberties Union is not silent either on the matter. Michell Richardson, legislative counsel for the ACLU, stated that moving farther away from protection of civil rights and individual rights, toward a more authoritarian police state cannot be reversed. She recommends the Senate ignore the bill and allow it do vanish.
Since 9/11 America has entered into one of the most critical stages of its history. We are under attack from within under the auspices of security against those from without. Giving them one valid point, consider this. If you thought the right wing conservative Christian community was too restrictive, imagine what living under Sharia Law would be like. That is what we could be facing 15 years out if terrorists of the Muslim world wins their war against the freedom that is America.
However, consider the irony that America has a faction within which has too much power and is doing exactly the same as we fear of Sharia Law. This faction which wields power in our government and law enforcement are thieves and anti-American. They seek to destroy the very thing that makes America great. The CISPA is only one of many attempts by this terrorist faction in our government.
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