CISPA Misunderstanding

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFor the last week there have been memes on Reddit’s front page regarding CISPA—some of which are complaints, some are critiques, and other memes are just a sad attempt at being clever.

The posters are prompting viewers to write to their Representative and voice their disapproval of the bill being passed. However, not a single meme actually explains what CISPA is—they just tell you that it should not be passed. CISPA stands for Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act and it is a proposed law in Congress that would allow for the United States government to share Internet traffic information with private, manufacturing companies that specialize in technology.

The legislation was first introduced by Republican Representative Michael Rogers from Michigan on Nov. 30, 2011 and passed by the House, but not by the Senate. The reported purpose of the bill is to assist the government in locating cyber threats and allow for better securing of networks against cyber attacks.

It has since been brought up as proposed legislation again and will soon be reintroduced to the floor in order to be debated and voted for or against.CISPA has been criticized due to potentially encroaching on civil liberties and confidentiality of individuals—and groups from both sides of the political spectrum have voiced their protests of this.

As written the bill does not include enough limits as to what the government can and cannot do in regards to monitoring an individual’s private Internet use. This means that the government would be able to monitor the Internet and alert companies such as Google and Facebook if they might be at risk for a cyber attack.

And the opposite would also hold true, Internet companies would be able to alert the Feds to any suspicious activity happening on their platform. It could become a great form of protection in this technological age that we live in, but it could also sacrifice significant amounts of personal freedom. But, there are those in favor of the bill passing.

According to PC Magazine, “Backers argue that CISPA is necessary to protect the U.S. against cyber attacks from countries like China and Iran.” Big Internet companies favor the bill because it will potentially protect their companies from being taken down due to a cyber attack.

Internet security is a prevalent concern in our society; we all want to feel secure that our online presence is safe. We want to be able to use Facebook and be sure that the information that we posted there is safe from unauthorized persons.

We want to be able to buy an item online and not worry about our credit card information being lifted by a cyber thief. We want all of our Internet activity to be secure, with only us knowing every detail about our browsing habits, so, what are we willing to sacrifice in order to gain that security?

The only way to gain confidence in the privacy of your Internet use is by surrendering some of your personal privacy to get it and allowing the government access to your private, browsing activity.

So, what are you willing to sacrifice in order to get true security with your Internet presence? Because there will have to be some sacrifice on all our parts if that is ever to be.

-Carrie Wilkie, Copy Editor


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