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Telcos Lobby for New CISPA With CNN's Help
Privacy Eroding Bill Gives You More Privacy, Trust Us!
by Karl Bode 10:12AM Thursday Mar 07 2013
CISPA, a bill that would significantly erode consumer privacy and expand Internet activity surveillance under the guise of "cybersecurity," (see the EFF's excellent primer) recently rose from the dead. Phone companies are of course in support of CISPA, given it gives them a blank check to violate consumer privacy laws. Fearing another SOPA-esque backlash, the phone companies this week brought out their lobbying heavy hitters to try and argue that CISPA is actually good for you.

Techdirt directs our attention to the fact that CNN this week helped the phone companies by running an editorial by Rick Boucher (who we've previously noted is now a very busy AT&T lobbyist) and Steve Largent (the wireless industry's top lobbyist) that tries to argue CISPA actually provides users with more privacy. Effectively, the lobbyists try to argue that CISPA means more security, and more security means more privacy (also, hey, trust us!):
The debate on cybersecurity has produced a sideshow centered around the belief that added security means a reduction in privacy. Such views are nonsense. Quite simply, digital privacy cannot exist without cybersecurity. Weak security equals weak privacy. Want better privacy? Raise your security game to prevent hackers from stealing private data. Let the experts from the private sector and government communicate with each other so when they see threats, they can alert others and work together to create a solution.
Mike Masnick at Techdirt does a fantastic job eviscerating the editorial point by point. As Masnick correctly notes, nobody is arguing that "experts" shouldn't be allowed to communicate, they're arguing that CISPA effectively gives these companies and the government total immunity to do whatever they'd like with your data:
Except... no one is complaining about experts in the private sector and the government communicating with each other. So their whole argument is based on a lie. The worry is that CISPA also gives companies blanket immunity for sharing personal information of their users/customers with the government, and then allows the government to do whatever the hell it wants with that information. That's the opposite of "good security." In fact, it guarantees that it's more likely that this information will leak and be available to bad or malicious players.
As is usually the case with most media outlets, CNN helps nudge the whole circus along by failing to note that Rick Boucher, once a champion of fair use rights, now lobbies for AT&T full time. Meanwhile, "cybersecurity" continues to be a bogeyman catch all used to justify all manner of anti-consumer behavior.

topics flat nest 


2 recommendations

Trust US

Trust US - Big Brother has your best interest at heart....

(UN)Patriot(IC) Act
Warrantless Wiretaps
Drone Program

All for your safety folks. Please don't ask too many questions. It's for the good of national security we know your every move. Mum is the NRA who seems tunnel visioned on firearms. Funny, what rights are they going to defend when we have none left?

Bush started this whole fiasco and Obama continues the travesty. Thanks U.S. Government. You've shown the world how to truly erode democracy.

Montpelier, VT

Rhetorial tricks vs. truth

It's true that security and privacy go together. The problem here is that this bill would promote neither.

Notice that whenever the government talks about "cyber" security, the actual policy is always something to enable more surveillance of the citizens. Real security would mean, for example, far wider use of encryption - then we'd have more privacy and less of the routine exploits.

With CISPA, suppose a company (like your ISP) detects some issue and reports it to the Feds. What's the USG going to do about it? Add more useless, oppressive policies? They can't even secure their own systems.

Braves Fan
Pelham, AL
·AT&T Southeast

Against CISPA? Sign the petition

I am not an ACLU kind of guy, but at least they are helping us fight against CISPA:

»www.aclu.org/secure/tell-obama-v ··· unch_mar

"Life is like this long line, except at the end there ain't no merry-go-round." - Arthur on The King of Queens
~ Project Hope ~


Re: Against CISPA? Sign the petition

I fully support the ACLU's actions on Warrantless Wiretaps, etc. However, their recent case challenging the matter was shot down by the Supreme Court. So our ability to speak up further is now silenced.

Tavistock NJ

1 edit

For CISPA - companies share security techniques

CISPA just allows companies and the government to share security techniques and info on hacking attacks against companies without getting sued by customers and shareholders because a hacker succeeded in getting company info. Without the law, companies won't admit successful hacking attacks for fear of being sued.

I suspect that those against this law(ambulance chasing law firms) are just opportunists looking to make money suing companies.

»www.truth-out.org/news/item/1489 ··· l-rights

CISPA grants them immunity from lawsuits and has provided them with enough assurance that it will not affect their business in any significant way.

Senate - get off your butts and actually create a budget that has spending cuts 3x the amount of tax increases like you promised.



Re: For CISPA - companies share security techniques

The bill doesn't exactly limit info shared to hacking attempts or techniques, they would legally be allowed to do that already. The thing is that the companies would be allowed to scan whatever you do/say, and report you to the federal government, regardless of whether or not they agreed not to. Basically this is an attempt at removing protection of anything that you want to keep private from the federal government. The federal government, however, sucks at making sure information is never leaked.

Bedford, MA

congress needs money..

The telcos are willing to pay under the table, so they can probably get what they want. The telcos have long been in cahoots with the spooks anyway.



make your calls secure

There are plenty of devices and means of securing your phone calls available from easily searched websites, that can encrypt your calls. Whether spooks have the tools to decrypt them (likely with a court order against the company that creates them), is debateable.

Data is easily encrypted from the source, and if you encrypt an already encrypted file, that tends to make things VERY secure, unless someone REALLY REALLY wants that info badly.


Baltimore, MD

1 recommendation


Perhaps it's time for another blackout such as that seen on January 18, 2012?

(Though, hopefully, these sites will actually take it more seriously this time. That soft-sell from Wikipedia and Google was rather weak.)