Telcos Lobby for New CISPA With CNN's Help
Privacy Eroding Bill Gives You More Privacy, Trust Us!
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.