So more strange happenings when it comes to cyber privacy and that too at the government level. Now this is something we should be used to since, well, let’s face it we have been witnessing the tugs, pushes, and pulls from all the politicians, law makers, law enforcers, and policy makers. Perhaps it wouldn't feel like a tiring soap opera we have all been through if things were to pace up, or yes, even go so far as make sense. But worry not, things do take queerer turns on this side of the virtual world.
Why CISPA is Making Headlines
In the latest story about CISPA (Cyber Intelligence and Sharing Protection Act), President Obama (yes he’s involved too, surprise) is believed to be willing to sign the bill. Now for those who are unaware of the story, basically, the CISPA is a controversial bill which already the majority of the President’s office has out rightly threatened to veto. Now if the president signs it anyway, whose court the ball is in becomes pretty clear. The controversy is pretty simple. The White House has made it clear that any legislation regarding information sharing will only be passed if it meets certain privacy criteria.
Now what that criterion is, is one, they will not approve anything which neglects infrastructure like electricity, water, and air traffic systems. Two, they will not approve anything that violates citizens privacy rights in the name of cyber security. This in average Joe lingo means they will not approve of information being collected from citizens without their consent via computer monitoring and cell phone tracking. Now, if you are skeptical regarding the latter part of their two stroke objective, you are weary and have learnt well. CISPA does not cover either of these bases when it comes down to it, hence the controversy.
Exactly what is CISPA may be unclear to some still. So here is the hoe down, CISPA is the latest cyber security bill which allows the sharing of private user information (probably obtained through cell phone tracking) with the Federal Government without any inquiries, such as a warrant for starters. This means that if the data provided can be used or is of some worth as helping maintain say ‘national security’ for one, companies are free from harm from litigation or legal reprimanding even if what they did was divulge consumer privacy information. Of course, the bill got some retouches and botox to make it look more like it cared about citizen privacy but really not enough to change its essential purpose; safeguarding companies and agencies that use private information without consent.
Well perhaps this could have been overlooked as a bold procedure on behalf of CISPA supporters to be rejected and made an example out of. Unfortunately, it’s these same supporters who are confident that if they can ‘get a bill on information-sharing to the President’s desk, he’ll sign it’. But even making its way to the Presidential desk seems a tough job at this point. Thankfully, the Senate doesn't seem to want to let it get there. But somehow that doesn't seem to soothe consumer anxieties. Reason being that the situation is more sensitive than we would like to think. Changes in the White House can shift the majority opinion in an instant and of course, the President hasn't been known to take moral stands much, taking them in the face of pressure seems highly unlikely now. Sad to say, the signs on cyber legislation are varying but the eventual prediction is that it can’t be avoided. And who knows how much privacy we will be able to retain, or even recall then.