Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) spoke on the Senate floor earlier this week about the cyber-security legislation being debated by the Senate and Congress.
During the speech, Wyden called for “a cyber-security bill that protects American’s security and their fundamental right to privacy.”
Of note are the public trust and public privacy issues regarding CISPA:
But the bill passed by the other body, known as CISPA, would erode that trust. As an attempt to protect our networks from real cyber-threats CISPA is an example of what not to do.
CISPA repeals important provisions of existing electronic surveillance law that have been on the books for years without instituting corresponding privacy, confidentiality, and civil liberties safeguards.
It creates uncertainty in place of trust, it erodes statutory and constitutional civil rights protections, and it creates a surveillance regime in place of the targeted, nimble, cyber-security program that is needed to truly protect this nation.
Equally important are his remarks regarding the “cyber security industry” these bills would inevitably create:
I believe these bills will encourage the development of a cyber security industry that profits from fear and whose currency is Americans private data. These bills create a Cyber Industrial Complex that has an interest in preserving the problem to which it is the solution.
In fact, that complex is already forming.
A full list of companies and trade groups supporting the legislation, from Facebook to AT&T, can be found here.
Combing through the lobbyist disclosure forms, Republic Report noticed that two of the top firms spending a lot of money to pass CISPA are major National Security Agency (NSA) contractors: Computer Sciences Corporation (CSC) and Sciences Applications International Corporation (SAIC).
In fact, the chief sponsor of the bill in the House, Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI), has received $175,000 from organizations (largely corporations) who have lobbied on the bill. That’s 15 percent of his total campaign dollars he’s raised this cycle.
The top two donors? Defense contractor SAIC ($20,000) and Koch Industries ($14,500).
As the Center for Democracy and Technology explains, CISPA vastly expands a current information gathering effort between the NSA and private firms:
The legislation is being billed as an expansion of a collaboration between the National Security Agency (NSA) and major ISPs dubbed the Defense Industrial Base Pilot. Under the DIB Pilot, the NSA shares classified cyberattack signatures and information about cybersecurity threats with large ISPs that provide Internet service to major defense contractors.
Other current NSA data-mining contractors are lobbying to pass CISPA. Northrop Grumman has at least 10 registered lobbyists promoting the bill. Lockheed Martin has a similar number of lobbyists doing the same.
MapLight has conducted an analysis of selected companies supporting CISPA and their contributions to members of Congress. The organizations listed below are among the top contributors to the campaigns of elected members of Congress since 2007.
All contribution figures below are from January 1, 2007 – June 30, 2011, and include contributions from the companies and their employees to elected members of both the U.S. House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate.
- AT&T has given a total of $24,550,977, making it the second largest contributing company to members of Congress.
- Boeing has given a total of $15,611,994.
- Exelon has given a total of $6,465,801.
- Lockheed Martin has given a total of $16,072,404.
- Microsoft has given a total of $12,690,753.
- National Cable & Telecommunications Association has given a total of $9,612,219.
All in all, between July 1, 2009 and June 30, 2011, interest groups that support CISPA, including Defense aerospace contractors, Cable & satellite TV production & distribution, Computer software, Cellular systems and equipment, and Online computer services, have given a total of $31,505,583 to current members of the House of Representatives.
Let me repeat that. In a single year, special interest groups that support CISPA have given a total of $31 million to current members of the House of Representatives.
The NSA, the FBI, the defense industry, the communications industry, the software industry, and the fledgling and aforementioned “cyber security industry” all have vested interests in passing CISPA and S. 2105, the Senate version of the bill.
But does the government really need the ability to build a national database of every site you visit? Record every tweet and SMS and email you send and receive, and to whom? Maintain copies of every credit card transaction?
Does the government need the ability to target whistle-blowers and those who would shine a light on the shadowy workings of business and government?
Apparently, the answer is yes. The following is from James Bamford’s story in Wired magazine, The NSA Is Building the Country’s Biggest Spy Center (Watch What You Say).
Under construction by contractors with top-secret clearances, the Utah Data Center is being built for the National Security Agency.
A project of immense secrecy, it is the final piece in a complex puzzle assembled over the past decade. Its purpose: to intercept, decipher, analyze, and store vast swaths of the world’s communications.
Flowing through its servers and routers and stored in near-bottomless databases will be all forms of communication, including the complete contents of private emails, cell phone calls, and Google searches, as well as all sorts of personal data trails—parking receipts, travel itineraries, and bookstore purchases.
CISPA and S. 2105 exist to give the NSA and the government a legal mandate and access to any and all information collected, both foreign and domestic.
The $2 billion Utah Data Center center should be up and running in September 2013.
And should this legislation pass, it will be completely legal.
Only you can stop it. Here’s how.
CISPA is now tucked inside of Senate bill S.2105, which has bipartisan congressional support, is being actively supported by the Obama Administration, and which is scheduled for a vote in early June. It’s alive and well, and on a clear path to becoming law.
The Senate goes on recess next week, which means we have exactly 3 days to make calls before they leave for a week and then come back for the vote.
The most important thing we can do with that time is to try to get meetings scheduled with our senators while they are in their home states over the recess. This is a proven grassroots strategy that was key to killing SOPA.
We can beat CISPA if we do this.
Don’t assume that someone else will do it. Stop S. 2105. Stop CISPA.
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