Homeland Security Watch

News and analysis of critical issues in homeland security

April 25, 2012

Cybersecurity: Pro and con for wonks

Filed under: Cybersecurity — by Philip J. Palin on April 25, 2012

Today and tomorrow will be big days for the cybersecruity package being moved through the House.  A Friday vote (or votes) is promised. Lots of ink and bytes are available on the issues.

The House Permanent Select Committee is providing access to the proposed bill and emerging amendments.

Here are two more sources for a deeper dive.

PRO CISPA et cetera:

See the Information Technology Council.   Don’t miss the links available via their twitter feed, page right.

CONTRA CISPA et cetera:

See the Center for Democracy and Technology.  Don’t miss the links available via their blog posts, page right.



… Dangerous economic predators, including nation-states like China, use the Internet to steal valuable information from American companies and unfairly compete with our economy. The cost is staggering. Years of effort and billions of dollars in research and development, strategic business plans, communications, and other sensitive data—all are lost in seconds. The victims span all sectors of our economy, from small businesses to large pharmaceutical, biotech, defense, and IT corporations. Additionally, our industrial control systems, utilities networks, and critical infrastructure are at risk of sabotage. We must all work together, government and private sector, to defend America against these predators, and we must do it in a way that does not compromise our core principles. The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act allows us to take that first critical step of sharing information in a way that is effective but still protects our civil liberties. MORE (Representative Mike Rogers, Chairman, House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence)


The latest assault on internet freedom is called the “Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act,” or “CISPA,” which may be considered by Congress this week.  CISPA is essentially an internet monitoring bill that permits both the federal government and private companies to view your private online communications with no judicial oversight–provided, of course, that they do so in the name of “cybersecurity.”  The bill is very broadly written, and allows the Department of Homeland Security to obtain large swaths of personal information contained in your emails or other online communication.  It also allows emails and private information found online to be used for purposes far beyond any reasonable definition of fighting cyberterrorism. CISPA represents an alarming form of corporatism, as it further intertwines government with companies like Google and Facebook.  It permits them to hand over your private communications to government officials without a warrant, circumventing well-established federal laws like the Wiretap Act and the Electronic Communications Privacy Act.  It also grants them broad immunity from lawsuits for doing so, leaving you without recourse for invasions of privacy.  Simply put, CISPA encourages some of our most successful internet companies to act as government spies, sowing distrust of social media and chilling communication in one segment of the world economy where America still leads. MORE (Representative Ron Paul, Chairman of the Subcommittee on Domestic and Monetary Policy, House Financial Services Committee)

Scroll below for more attention from HLSWatch.  A prior post on a related Senate proposal is available here. More to come.

Late Wednesday Update: Politico has a good summary of the state-of-play as of dinner time.   PCWorld is providing good sustained coverage of both political developments and their technical implications.

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Comment by Sarah Dey

April 25, 2012 @ 9:05 am

There was SOPA. There were protests. And, there was protest fatigue.

Now, there is another law – CISPA or something. And yes, there are no protests.

How many such laws are passed like this?

On this particular topic, its entirely relevant that we educate ourselves. Online courses on Security related topics [like this one here ->http://www.wiziq.com/course/3706-computer-security-and-ethical-hacking-training-by-ankit-fadia%5D are taken. These would enable everyone to understand and support the right policies – whether it is corporate, politics or companies.

This is not only relevant for government and politics but also in companies.

Comment by William R. Cumming

April 25, 2012 @ 5:39 pm

Thanks Phil and Sarah! Yes the lobbyists even control the flow of legislation Sarah in the Congress. They love to have the members out of breath and no time to read or understand the legislation. My informal estimate is that any of these four bills will result in over the next decade of $100B in taxpayer subsidies to the software industry. Direct and indirect. But costs will be fully shifted under any of the legislation to the taxpayers and consumers.

Comment by TSA & Treason: Drugs and Bribes; Other

April 26, 2012 @ 5:44 pm

TSA & Treason

Can we discuss the TSA and these thefts and bribes allowing drugs to get by screening procedures…

Jobs are not so easy to come by these days and it is more than disheartening to hear of drugs being allowed through screening as TSA agents get paid off….A Comgressional focus on this very serious concern….


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May 1, 2012 @ 3:15 pm

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