American Internet freedom in jeopardy

By Brady Davidson | Business Manager

While the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) was indefinitely postponed in January, it has returned with a slightly different face. CISPA, or the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, has passed through the House and is now looking to pass through the Senate. Many of the worries about SOPA are still present in this bill, which is getting closer and closer to coming into law.

The legislators who back this bill do not seem to understand the severity of the issue. CISPA will give unprecedented powers to the government to search through people’s personal information–medical records, private emails, financial information—all without a warrant, proper oversight or limits.

The public uproar caused by SOPA earlier this year must be repeated against this new bill, which will limit citizens’ rights to privacy. The true setback is the sheet that the media tries to put over these issues. Influenced by support for the bill, little has been said to inform the public of the long range of freedom repressing bills that continue to be created. The National Defense Authorization Act, Protect IP Act, Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, SOPA and now CISPA have been swept under the rug of public attention.

The purpose of the bill is to combat certain cyber threats coming from various hosts. However, the threat truly comes from the fact that CISPA allows the government and private companies to exchange private information so long as the exchange has something to do with “cyber security.” Such a definition is left to the government to define, but in truth it needs almost no definition. Any seizures will require absolutely no clearance or checks by the judicial system. This loose definition could be very critical to the security of many companies that operate online in any manner.

CISPA may not represent the greatest threat to the United States, but it represents an idea that has been threatening the U.S. for decades–the idea that government has become ‘Big Brother’ in a sense. Our government feels a need to watch over and control everything that is “worthy” of such, and these actions limit the freedoms and rights of American citizens.

While this bill is targeted at the Internet and cyber security, it is part of a long line of laws that have been introduced in that last year that seems to limit the freedoms of the people of the United States. The people helped stop SOPA in January, so too must the people rise up again and show these politicians that such loosely constructed bills cannot be passed in order to maintain a free America.