In its latest attempt at controlling the internet, Congress has unveiled a fresh, new SOPA-like bill called CISPA, or the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act.,

If you download and distribute copyrighted material on the Internet, or share any information that governments or corporations find inconvenient, you could soon be labeled a threat to national security in the United States. That’s the aim of a bill in Congress called the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA).,

The good news is that SOPA and PIPA haven’t come to pass, but the bad news is that they could be followed by a bill that is even more invasive and could violate even more of your civil liberties. According to a press release issued last week, the bill already has over a 100 congressional co-sponsors. Yet the bill is only now beginning to appear on the public radar.
CISPA would let companies spy on users and share private information with the federal government and other companies with near-total immunity from civil and criminal liability. It effectively creates a ‘cybersecurity’ exemption to all existing laws.

CISPA, however, is nothing like SOPA, despite its recent association in the media. While SOPA included provisions that would have essentially broken the Internet by allowing the U.S. to delete domains from a central registry system, CISPA does nothing of the sort, and aims more at “cyber threat intelligence” gathering than censorship and piracy prevention.

The bill presents itself as a simple enhancement of America’s cyber-security that would amend the National Security Act to include “cyber threat intelligence” gathering. To those ends, it would tear down the firewall between private corporate networks and the National Security Agency , enabling corporations to share data with the world’s most sophisticated spy apparatus.
CISPA is an excellent example of the federal government’s interest in obtaining online superiority in the domestic War on Terror. Control and access of bits is becomes as important as atoms in modern warfare. It is no surprise that governments are seeking to extend their jurisdiction into the realms of online social activity. The Internet’s ability to dispace our actions temporally as well as geographically makes existing laws difficult to enforce, or makes them obsolete. The third amendment makes it illegal to quarter soldiers in privates homes, but that does not mean the government is prohibited from running data-collecting software on the servers that run my personal web site or store my data. The foundations of the first amendment assumed that individuals’ speech and the press were restricted to national borders. CISPA and similar legislation is the beginning of a new kind of colonization. Governments and corporate entities are interested in maintaing online, the same sorts of controls that they had offline.



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