Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Treacherous Senate Rolls Out New Cybersecurity Bill

The number one enemy of the American people and enablers of the ongoing spree to gut the US Constitution is at it again with yet another attack on privacy. The Senate, led by the impenetrable firewall of cellulite that protects the NSA Stasi - California's Dianne Feinstein - has just passed out of committee a new cybersecurity bill that represents the institutionalized rottenness of the legislative body in all of it's resplendent putrescence. The onerous bill, the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) was voted on in secret to avoid that always pesky public scrutiny and with a 12-3 win is headed to the full Senate in an election year where it should easily pass given the renewed climate of fear-mongering and demagoguery since the magnificently fortuitous appearance of ISIS and the return of US troops to Iraq. The Republicans will bludgeon the always feckless Democrats as being weak on terrorism and the party of Obama and Hillary, terrified at being called chicken will submit.
The bill is a resurrection of CISPA which while passing the House of Representatives - it was championed by the puffy fascist from Michigan Congressman Mike Rogers who will soon be leaving for a right-wing talk radio career - didn't make through the Senate which allowed Feinstein and her fellow snakes ample opportunity to scheme and CISA was the result. This bill is nothing but one more betrayal by the US Congress and a sellout to corporate America, which will have bestowed upon it the gift of immunity as customer data is passed onto the NSA without a warrant under the guise of protection against cyber attacks - the newest version of WMD which serve as justification to sell out Americans for political gain.
Pushed by Dianne Feinstein and Saxby Chambliss, the California Democrat and Georgia Republican who lead the committee, the bill would remove legal obstacles that block firms from sharing information "in real time" about cyber-attacks and prevention or mitigation measures with one another and with the US government.
Worrying civil libertarians is that the NSA and its twin military command, US Cyber Command, would receive access to vast amounts of data, and privacy guidelines for the handling of that data are yet to be developed.
A draft of the bill released in mid-June would permit government agencies to share, retain and use the information for "a cybersecurity purpose" – defined as "the purpose of protecting an information system or information that is stored on, processed by or transiting an information system from a cybersecurity threat or security vulnerability" – raising the prospect of the NSA stockpiling a catalogue of weaknesses in digital security, as a recent White House data-assurance policy permits.
It would also prevent participating companies from being sued for sharing data with each other and the government, even though many companies offer contract terms of service prohibiting the sharing of client or customer information without explicit consent.
Champions of a similar bill that passed the House of Representatives last year despite a White House veto threat urged the full Senate to follow the intelligence panel's lead.
"These attacks cost our country billions of dollars through the loss of jobs and intellectual property. We are confident that the House and the Senate will quickly come together to address this urgent threat and craft a final bill that secures our networks and protects privacy and civil liberties," said Mike Rogers of Michigan and Dutch Ruppersberger of Maryland, the Republican and Democratic leaders of the House intelligence committee.
[That would be the same Dutch Ruppersberger whose  Congressional district happens to include the Fort Meade command center of the NSA Stasi and Mike Rogers whose wife is a lobbyist - isn't it a conflict of interest to have a husband who presides over the House Intelligence Committee?]
But digital rights advocates warn that the measure will give the government, including the NSA, access to more information than just that relating to cyberthreats, potentially creating a new avenue for broad governmental access to US data even as Congress and the Obama administration contemplate restricting the NSA's domestic collection.
The bill contains "catch-all provisions that would allow for the inclusion of a lot more than malicious code. It could include the content of communications. That's one of the biggest concerns," said Gabriel Rottman, an attorney with the American Civil Liberties Union.
The CISA data-sharing agreement is nothing more than a convenient end-around, a circumvention of any sort of legal restraint that will throw open the door to increased data-mining and content grabbing of millions of innocent US citizens/consumers which will be delivered to an unaccountable NSA without any oversight. But then again that is what Congress, particularly the high-powered committee heads are there for, to grease the rails and use every sort of legal trickery in the book to violate their oaths to uphold the Constitution while selling out their constituents for a dollar a dozen.
There is still an opportunity to stop CISA by bringing immense public pressure and utilizing privacy organization petitions and mailing tools but it is going to be a pitched, uphill battle against an entrenched enemy that in no way other than lip-service represents regular Americans.