Senate passes controversial Cisa a.k.a. ‘cybersecurity bill’
(information furnished from an article published in the London Guardian by Sam Thielman 10/28/2015)

The US Senate passed a very controversial cybersecurity bill critics say will allow the government to collect sensitive personal data unchecked, over the objections of civil liberties groups and many of the biggest names in the tech sector. Cisa, as it is known by, was negotiated and voted on in secret to avoid criticism, and possible failure of passage. Of course, mainstream media claims it was passed “overwhelmingly” although, in truth, many of our Reps were not even present for the vote.

The vote tallies on Tuesday was 74 to 21 in support of the legislation. Democrat Bernie Sanders, a presidential contender, voted against the bill. None of the Republican presidential candidates (except Lindsey Graham, who voted in favor) were present to cast a vote

A group of university professors who specialize in tech law, joined a impressive list of critics urging them to NOT pass the bill. Opponents requesting Cisa be thrown out included many of the largest technology companies, such as Apple, in addition to security researchers, and Edward Snowden (National Security Agency (NSA) whistleblower). Microsoft, Google and Facebook, however, were noticeably silent. (Hmmm…anyone smell ‘profit’ here?)

The professors stated that Cisa would “allow ‘voluntary’ sharing of private information with the government, – information allowing secret and ad hoc privacy intrusions in place of meaningful consideration of the privacy concerns of all Americans”.

“The Freedom of Information Act would be neutralized, while a mass of various federal agencies could have access to the public’s heretofore private-held information with little fear that such sharing would ever be known to those whose information was shared.” In fact, much of it is detailed financial and health information the government has never had access to in any form.

Certain senators did their utmost to keep their colleagues from voting for any privacy-protective amendments, despite protestations, claiming that Cisa was not a surveillance bill. Amendments would have mitigated what senators saw as unreasonable invasions of privacy. One amendment called for notifying citizens that their data was being examined. Incredibly, all Amendments failed.

Private industry would provide the data, as they already mine everything from credit card statements to prescription drug purchase records which they allegedly use to target advertising and adapt product lines. A lot of this information is detailed financial and health information the government has previously never had access to in any form.

Cisa allows the creation of a program within the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) through which corporations could share user data in bulk with several US government agencies. The companies who participate in handing over information will, in exchange, receive complete immunity from Freedom of Information Act requests and regulatory action relating to whatever data they provide to the government. DHS will then share the information amongst other government agencies.

Now the bill must be considered and discussed along with three other similar bills, all of which have already been passed by the House of Representatives, and then it goes back to be voted on again in the House. The procedure will no doubt be much quicker and smoother in passing this ultimate snope bill than earlier when it faced opposition.

The alleged hack at Sony was apparently utilized as a ‘leg-up’ on getting our Reps to vote in favor of Cisa. It is now ‘permission granted’ by citizens who were never asked if it was OK to give their private information to numerous and sundry governmental agencies. This is essentially a ‘forced permission’ situation’ to be used to invade our privacy at incredibly deep levels – for “security”…’Double-speak’, anyone?? (Oh heck, any excuse is better than none, right?).

Security researchers state that its passage would do little, if anything, to improve surveillance but would, instead, spread user information broadly across huge network of government IT systems. So, unless you are OK with abandoning any possible tech privacy, and allowing every one and his brother to know every little aspect of your life while using computers and other ‘convenient’ technology- for very dubious alleged ‘security’ reasons….
CONTACT your Representatives NOW and INSIST that Cisa be repealed, thrown out, abandoned!!

To find and Contact your Representatives, go here: http://www.contactingthecongress.org/

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