We’ve been having a lot of fun with our blog lately, and we promise to continue to do so. However, we need to address some serious business once again. Back in December, we posted about SOPA. That beast has changed forms, returned and is now attacking more forcefully. CISPA (Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, aka H.R. 3523) was passed by the United Stated House of Representatives on April 26th, by a vote of 248 to 168.
Ostensibly, CISPA exists to “help the U.S Government investigate cyber threats and ensure the security of networks against cyber attack.” However, this wolf in sheep’s clothing also allows complete, unfettered access to your online activities without regard to existing privacy laws, provided the government suspects you of having committed some type of cyber crime. Criminals should absolutely be investigated, prosecuted and punished if found guilty. However, the scope of this bill is far too broad to be an effective piece of legislation and lacks any clear parameters as to what would constitute a justifiable suspicion, or when and how the government can monitor your internet browsing information; basically making all of us potential suspects, guilty until proven innocent.
Representative Jared Polis, a Colorado Democrat and onetime web entrepreneur, stated during the debate that ”allowing the military and NSA to spy on Americans on American soil goes against every principle this country was founded on,” and that CISPA would “…waive every single privacy law ever enacted in the name of cybersecurity.”
The author of CISPA, Representative Mike Rogers (R – Michigan) responded by asking his colleagues to ignore “all the things they’re saying about the bill that are not true.” That statement itself is curiously representative of the bill and an excellent example of stereotypical politician-speak; it moves towards the desired goal without identifying any parameters or setting any limitations.
The ACLU and Mozilla have both spoken out against CISPA, and the Obama administration has thus far maintained that it would veto the bill, due to it lacking confidentiality and civil liberties safeguards. However, this fight is not over. We at HostGator still very much support an Internet whereby free information and the unhindered distribution of said information is an unalienable human right; we do not want to lose this right, signed away as part of a malformed and ultimately counter-productive piece of legislation.
Please contact your Congressional Representative and let them know how you feel on this important issue. Vote no on CISPA!