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The House of Representatives passed the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) last night. This is yet another “cyber security” bill that will infringe on online privacy. The bill would encourage private companies such as Google and Facebook to share vast amounts of our private information with the federal government.
What exactly? An amendment by Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) thankfully passed which protects our tax, library, and gun records from government snooping. But CISPA is still a disaster that contains extremely broad language. Private companies would be encouraged to share everything from our Internet browsing history to the content of our emails with federal agencies.
That information is frankly none of the government’s business. You will not be informed if the government is snooping around in your email inbox with no warrant. It isn’t even clear what the federal agencies will do with our private information. If CISPA becomes law, internet privacy will become a thing of the past.
According to the Campaign for Liberty, “the way this legislation is drafted, it currently overrides privacy presumptions found in the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, and the Communications Act regarding the privacy of an individual's online communications and related records.
Essentially, CISPA would deem all existing privacy laws null and void for ‘cybersecurity’ purposes.”
CISPA was passed under the guise of national security. But this isn’t about keeping us safe. It’s just another government power grab that violates our fourth amendment rights. The government wants to restrict the free flow of information on the Internet.
The Internet is a prime example of what Austrian economist F.A. Hayek called spontaneous order. No one controls the Internet and that’s precisely what makes it so great. Millions of people from all over the world are able to share unrestricted and uncensored information.
CISPA is yet another “cyber security” bill that will do more harm than good. The defeat of SOPA and PIPA showed the power of grassroots activism. We must remain vigilant and stop all of the government’s efforts to control the Internet.