So What Is CISPA, And Why Is It Awful?

By: 04.17.12

It’s a given that we just don’t care about our privacy. Ask anybody on Facebook who posts pictures of their kids, their pets, their coworkers, that interesting mole on their inner thigh, etc. How much do we not care?

A law is about to be passed that would basically let the NSA collect every piece of information private corporations know about you, and you probably aren’t even aware of it.

It’s called the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, although it’s not actually a law, but rather something tacked onto a security law passed in the ’40s. It’s designed to deal with what amounts to the new Cold War: American, Chinese, and Russian security agencies are currently busy hacking the crap out of each other, so this law is designed to make it easier to track and penalize, say, somebody stealing the plans of a new widget.

The big problem is, the way the bill is written, it supersedes all other wiretapping and intelligence laws, although a corporation does not have to comply with any request under the current language. So, in theory, under this law, well:

If CISPA were enacted, “part of the problem is we don’t know exactly what’s going to happen,” says Lee Tien, an attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation in San Francisco, which sued AT&T over the Bush administration’s warrantless wiretapping program. “I worry that you can get a version of cybersecurity warrantless wiretapping out of this.”

One thing worth noting: wiretaps are big business, so presumably there would be cash involved in this wholesale collection of data on American citizens.

But that’s OK. Facebook, Google, Apple, they’re all so altruistic, they’d never ever sell you up the river for what to them amounts to free money! We can’t see them ever doing that! Honest!

(Image courtesy Loop_Oh on Flickr)

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