CISPA is the latest cyber-intelligence legislation passing through Congress. Basically, it’s goal is to legally allow companies (like Facebook, for instance) to share user information with the Federal government.
Obviously, the government should be able to have access to private information online in order to prevent crimes they are reasonably certain are going to happen. This is not a new concept – we have the same needs in the physical world, where a set of checks and balances has been established to allow the needs of law enforcement while protecting a reasonable amount of our privacy. Law enforcement uses the courts to obtain permission to gather information that would be reasonably otherwise private.
I wanted to educate myself on CISPA – is it a reasonable piece of legislation, or does it allow an unlimited breach of privacy, as it’s detractors have said? I took a reasonable time to look over the legislation, and there was one thing that struck me about it fairly immediately. Go here, to the official repository of the CISPA draft. Click on the latest version, and search for the word ‘warrant’. No results found.
What’s so bad about getting a warrant before asking private companies for information about their users? Is that too much due process? It doesn’t seem to be in the physical world. Any legislation that addresses cyber-intelligence (or, in other words, all the public and private data online) should carry with it a system of checks and balances that prevent abuse. As such, CISPA is deeply flawed and cannot be reasonably justified. FerretArmy.com stands with Tim Berners-Lee in saying that CISPA threatens the rights of all citizens and should never be enacted.