By Doug Porter
The press release was a master stroke of Orwellian NewSpeak. Representative Scott “Better Than Bilbray” Peters was touting passage of H.R. 624, ‘The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA),’ “which passed the House of Representatives with 288 votes in favor and 127 against on a bipartisan basis.”
Finally, we are led to believe, Congress has taken action to protect the nation against “cyber attacks that could cripple our infrastructure and our national security, and cost our country untold amounts of money and jobs.”
Like any good politician, he promises this will somehow ‘bring home the bacon’ to his San Diego constituents, “…San Diego will be at the heart of the nascent cyber security industry as it develops strategies to protect the interests of American consumers and commercial entities into the future.”
Oh, and all those concerns people might have about privacy and oversight were taken care of via amendments, or so we’re told.
The only problem with all this congratulatory rhetoric is that it’s not true. Joan McCarter at Daily Kos lays it out:
This bill would trump all other privacy laws, all of the other protections the government has established for keeping personally identifiable and sensitive data—financial records, medical records, communication—private. Companies could share any and all of your information with the government in the name of national security, and there’s nothing you could do about it. It was a bad bill last year, and it’s a bad bill now. That’s why the White House has threatened to veto this legislation, just like they did last year.
Here’s the view from The Hill:
But privacy groups and several members of the House fear the bill might still give the government, including the National Security Agency, access to private consumer information. The White House threatened to veto the bill because it argues the measure does not require companies to remove personal data to the extent possible before passing it on to the government and other businesses.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said she was “disappointed” that this issue was not resolved in the bill, and said she would vote against CISPA.
“They can just ship the whole kit and caboodle over,” Pelosi said of companies’ obligations on data sharing. “We are saying, minimize what is relevant to our national security. The rest is none of the government’s business.” Pelosi also argued that the bill provides broad liability protection for companies that send information to the government, and said that liability should be narrowed.
Make no mistake about it, we do need to write rules that protect the country in this era of cyberwarfare. But we don’t need to throw out the baby with the bathwater in the name of national security. One need look no further than the FBI’s use of national security letters (currently being challenged in the courts) that prohibit citizens from even commenting on or admitting to the existence of an investigation to understand why legislation needs to be explicit and thorough in its protections of basic rights.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation has led the fight to keep CISPA as presently constituted from becoming law. Here’s what they have to say:
“CISPA is a poorly drafted bill that would provide a gaping exception to bedrock privacy law,” EFF Senior Staff Attorney Kurt Opsahl said. “While we all agree that our nation needs to address pressing Internet security issues, this bill sacrifices online privacy while failing to take common-sense steps to improve security.”
“This bill undermines the privacy of millions of Internet users,” said Rainey Reitman, EFF Activism Director. “Hundreds of thousands of Internet users opposed this bill, joining the White House and Internet security experts in voicing concerns about the civil liberties ramifications of CISPA. We’re committed to taking this fight to the Senate and fighting to ensure no law which would be so detrimental to online privacy is passed on our watch.”
Congressman Peters support of this legislation is an example of what I think is poor due diligence done in the name of appearing to be supportive of ‘national security’ (and its attendant industrial complex) and ‘bi-partisanship’.
You can let your Congressperson and Senators know that they need to do their homework by clicking this link.
San Diegans React to Bravery in Boston…
As of this morning over 700 San Diegans have responded to a call via Facebook to join a memorial run/walk for the victims of the Boston Marathon bombing on the grass at the parking lot towards the end of the Mission Bay boardwalk (use 2750 De Anza Road, San Diego, CA 92109 for a Google map search) on Monday, April 22nd at 6pm.
From the organizer(s):
As a runner, I feel as though a group of my friends were attacked when the bombs in Boston went off. It’s not okay. Spectators are what make our sport so awesome. Many of us couldn’t do it without those cheers or the silly signs held by strangers on the side of the road. The encouragement they provide us is like no other. Let’s run/walk for them, for the victims of the blasts.
A run for us to unite and show our strength.
A run for those that were unable to finish.
A run for those that may never run again.
A run for us to try and make sense of the tragedy that has forever changed something we love.
…And Cowardice in Washington
Those disappointed in the failure of the Senate to address gun legislation are calling for a Gun Safety Rally & March at East Mission Bay Park on Tuesday, April 30th, starting at 5:30pm. From the Organizing for America webpage announcement:
Join us for a rally on the Clairemont Drive overpass to stress our demand for stricter gun safety laws in this country because military assault weapons do not belong in the hands of civilians and no civilian needs high-capacity magazines to protect themselves and their families. We reject such nonsense. We have a real crisis in our country where children are being mowed down in classrooms because these types of weapons are freely available, especially with the current background check loopholes.
We will meet at East Mission Bay Park near the Information Center and walk up to the Clairemont Drive overpass, displaying our message of solidarity in our demand for stricter gun laws in this country. Then we will re-group at the East Mission Bay Park near theInformation Center for music, speakers, and more information on what you can do to help. THEY DESERVE A VOTE!
Cry Me a River…
San Diego’s anti-union types have announced, once again (is this the second or third time?) that they’re suing the City of San Diego to gain release of details of an agreement between organized labor and private contractors that cleared the way for eventual construction of a convention center expansion project.
From a KPBS report:
“We’re going to get that union Project Labor Agreement, expose it to the public, and make every schemer involved with this union sweetheart deal accountable for breaking the law,” said Eric Christen, the executive director of the coalition.
Lorena Gonzalez, CEO of the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council, said typical components of PLAs, like hiring practices and compensation, are being dealt with directly with the contractors, not the city.
She, then-Mayor Jerry Sanders and project manager Charles Black, said the convention center deals were about local hiring rules, worker safety and other contentious issues.
UT-SD Op-Ed Lays Down a Smoke Screen for Big Pharma
Things have almost gotten to the point where anytime you encounter rhetoric about ‘protecting jobs’ and ‘saving the economy’ you need to look at the soles of your shoes to see what kinda crap you just walked through.
So it is with UT-San Diego’s ‘Bad Idea Could Cost Jobs, Hinder Innovation’ op-ed written by PhRMA CEO John Castellini that appeared in yesterday’s paper. He dropped all the right buzz words ‘President Obama’s plan’, ‘jobs’. ‘medicare’(as in it’s in danger) and, of course, “American innovation’.
So just what was this dire threat to our economy, our jobs and the very essence of our national greatness?
Congressman Henry Waxman and Senator Jay Rockefeller have introduced companion bills in the House and Senate that begin the process of rolling back Medicare drug prices by removing some restrictions to government negotiation. California Senator Barbara Boxer is one of the co-sponsors of this legislation.
The bill is called the ‘Medicare Drug Savings Act of 2013’. What it does to undo the Bush-era backroom deal (part of creating (Medicare part D) that allowed drug companies to charge Medicare higher prices for prescription drugs for some seniors and people with disabilities.
Instead of paying ‘list price’ for drugs, the government would now be allowed to negotiate prices for these Medicare beneficiaries, just like private insurance companies do. This simple action will save taxpayers $141.20 billion.
Let’s see… cut Medicare benefits or… allow drug companies to gouge Medicare…
Glenn Beck says Obama should be impeached for aiding and abetting the Saudi national who committed the bombing.
On This Day: 1775 – The American Revolution began as fighting broke out at Lexington, MA. 1897 – The first annual Boston Marathon was held. It was the first of its type in the U.S. 1995 – The Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, OK, was destroyed by a bomb. It was the worst bombing on U.S. territory. 168 people were killed including 19 children, and 500 were injured. Timothy McVeigh was found guilty of the bombing on June 2, 1997.
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