22 April 2012

surveillance + cyber spying

CISPA — the Cyber Intelligence Sharing & Protection Act — would cut a loophole in all existing privacy laws allowing the government to suck up data on everyday Internet users. We can't let that happen.
 • The ubiquitous of security cameras is become. Few seem to notice them everywhere, though some still express concerns about their presence.
 • We are in that Orwellian world of Winston Smith's 1984, even if we fail to see it.
 • In 1984 George Orwell provided compelling reasons for the people of the 21st century to, much as we did in the 60's, question authority.
 •  Orwell's protagonist Winston holds the thoughts of questioning unbridled authority dear but because of how society has been allowed to evolve he must be careful with even his own thoughts.
 • Not far from where we are ourselves, in a society full of cameras, snoops and neighbors eager to tell on you for "something", even if all that is means you seem to be - somehow - different.

 • Privacy rights watchdog site Torrent Freak writes:
The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) hasn’t received a whole lot of media attention yet, but it continues to pick up support from legislators.
   The bill is touted as being much worse than SOPA when it comes to privacy invasions.
   Just as SOPA [the so-called Stop Online Piracy Act ] claimed to put an emphasis on piracy, CISPA also appears to include the infringement of intellectual property as a security threat warranting access to user data. The definition of “theft or misappropriation of private or government information” is given four times throughout the bill H.R. 3523.
   Under CISPA, Internet providers and other companies could be expected to hand user data over to government agencies and even other companies upon request.
   According to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), it “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.”
   The EFF is concerned that, due to the vague language used in the bill, “a company like Google, Facebook, Twitter, or AT&T could intercept your emails and text messages, send copies to one another and to the government, and modify those communications or prevent them from reaching their destination if it fits into their plan to stop cyber-security threats.”
   After the huge public outcry against SOPA and ACTA, it is hard to imagine that CISPA will sit well with the greater online community.
   And is it really needed in the first place?
 • Perhaps the most banal, yet clearly controversial, surveillance camera is the traffic enforcement camera [no, that is not one shown on the right  ].
 • The automated traffic camera is, essentially, an automated ticketing machine. Newer cameras have automatic number plate recognition systems that can be used for the detection of average speeds.
 •  These raise concerns over loss of privacy and the potential for governments [...not to mention auto insurance companies and other corporate snoops ] to establish mass surveillance of vehicle movements and therefore by association ~ the movement of the vehicle's owner.
 • Is this about encouraging driving safety ...or is it more about generating income for cash-strapped municipalities?
 • Even former Congressman Bob Barr opines it's really "...all about money." and that the "...love of revenue-producing electronic devices knows no partisan bounds; local officials of Republican persuasion are just as quick -- if not quicker -- to install these intrusive but profitable devices as their Democrat counterparts. " Barr also cites studies that show that traffic surveillance camera set-ups may actually cause more accidents than prevent them. So much for citizen safety. Oh, and Barr's cite is from 2004, eight years ago.
 • What to do about this? The proverbial horse is already out of the barn on the matter, as more and more states implement surveillance camera posts everywhere. Well, it's also about unwanted [and unwarranted ] intrusions on citizen privacy.
 • CISPA — the Cyber Intelligence Sharing & Protection Act — would cut a loophole in all existing privacy laws allowing the government to suck up data on everyday Internet users. We can't let that happen. The Electronic Freedom Foundation is working to combat this intrusive bit of corporate promoted legislation. You need to help, too! Contact your Congressman to object to government and corporate cyber spying.

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