Andrew Breese

Musings of a professional geek

Is CISPA another SOPA?

Update: CISPA Bill was successfully passed by the US House of Reps, 27 April 2012. Find a good encrypted VPN provider now!

The struggle between governments, corps, and the rights of the individual is not over. SOPA was brought down by a large public outcry, and my fear at the time was that we would see this a few more times until eventually we are sick of responding, or disinterested – and then something aberrant will get passed.

Well in the US a bill called CISPA (the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act) is doing the rounds in headlines, and it appears to be a slightly less, but essentially the same as SOPA in terms of impact to personal freedom and information. Yes, yes, I know CISPA is very different in terms of focus, but the devil is in the implementation (Wired mag).

Once again the US govt is proposing very powerful changes to law without significant tangible borders, so that it can protect me, itself, and companies from my worse self. These powers come at the cost of my information and personal privacy. By default I think we should be against these changes.

CISPA is not without its own critics, and you’ll have to either trust me (or read further) that the bill in its current form is still a very large concern for a lot of agencies. So much so that basically all the organisations who were against SOPA and PIPA are alarmed by CISPA (do you hate acronyms yet?).

A point of difference is that many public, well known, and potentially trusted organisations are happy to support the bill. As the person on this end of the internet, I’m not happy to have faith that Microsoft, IBM, and Facebook etc are benevolent trustworthy companies.

There is a saying that rings true here, when we think about the impact this has and how trustworthy the govts, corps, and private companies are:

“If you are not paying for it but getting it for free, then you are the product, not the consumer.”

My privacy and security is not a commodity, and it worries me as Australia will likely follow what the Americans do.


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