While Americans were focusing on the Boston Marathon bombings and defending the Second Amendment to the Constitution from the Senate’s efforts to eliminate guns, the House was busy about the business of destroying the Fourth Amendment.
After two days of debate this week, the House passed CISPA, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, by a vote of 288-127, with 18 abstaining. The legislation would allow the federal government to engage private sector firms — think Google — in the business of monitoring your emails, postings and user data for nebulous “threat information” which would then be shared “voluntarily” without need for any sort of warrant.
The IRS and other federal agencies already have policies in place stating their belief that they are allowed to waltz through your data anytime they please, so CISPA seems primarily crafted to protect the Facebooks, Twitters, Yahoos, Sprints and other electronic communications businesses from legal reprisals.
Amendments that would have required data to be made anonymous before being handed over were defeated. Among the defeated amendments was a proposal to allow companies to keep their privacy policies intact and legally enforceable.
Democrat Rep. Jared Polis told CNET that CISPA would ensure that firms that hand over private user data would be “completely exonerated from any risk of liability.”
All of this data will go into one big federal system — probably the one built by the National Security Agency in Salt Lake City — and be shared across networks that will search for correlations.
CISPA also would amend the National Security Act to allow the feds to share classified information with entities and individuals who do not have a security clearance.