Friday, April 19, 2013

CISPA... Who Betrayed Us Yesterday And What It Means Now


2 who spoke up against Big Brother yesterday: Amash (R)  & Grayson (D)

We tried explaining CISPA on Wednesday when the House voted on a few amendments to CISPA that were permitted by Pete Sessions' very fascistic Rules Committee. The serious amendments that were offered by champions of individual liberty-- opponents of CISPA-- like Justin Amash (R-MI) and Alan Grayson (D-FL) were not allowed to even be voted on, ruled inappropriate by Sessions (R-TX). Amash's disallowed amendment was meant to "permit a company to provide through contract that it won't share personally identifiable information with the government." Sessions tossed it out unceremoniously. Grayson's amendment insisted on Constitutionally mandated search warrants.
Grayson’s amendment intended to protect Americans from cyber-security-related searches without a warrant, in keeping with the United States Constitution. The Fourth Amendment requires the government to obtain a warrant prior to conducting searches and seizures.

CISPA adds provisions to the National Security Act of 1947 related to cyber threat intelligence and information-sharing. The legislation has raised considerable privacy concerns amongst civil liberties groups, who worry that CISPA lacks provisions requiring the government to obtain a warrant when conducting searches based on cyber threat intelligence. The Obama Administration announced yesterday that it would not support CISPA in its current form, because of privacy concerns.

Despite these concerns, the House Committee on Rules rejected Grayson’s amendment, and offered no explanation for its rejection.

..."I offered a simple, straightforward amendment that would have protected American citizens from unreasonable and unconstitutional searches by the government under CISPA,” he said. “I’m disappointed that the Rules Committee refused even to allow this important amendment to be voted upon by the full House of Representatives."
CISPA passed Thursday afternoon 288-127, 92 mostly conservative Democrats joining all but 29 Republicans. Nancy Pelosi and Grayson rallied 98 Democrats against it. Obama has threatened to veto it in its current form. Among the Democrats making common cause with Boehner and Cantor Thursday were many of the usual suspects, Blue Dogs and New Dems, led by Steny Hoyer, Steve Israel, Jim Himes, Allyson Schwartz and Ron Kind. Some of the worst of Israel's right-of-center freshmen who backed CISPA Thursday were:
Ron Barber (New Dem-AZ)
Ami Bera (New Dem-CA)
Bill Enyart (IL)
Pete Gallego (Blue Dog-TX)
Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ)
Ann Kuster (NH)
Dan Lipinski (IL)
Dan Maffei (New Dem-NY)
Sean Patrick Maloney (New Dem-NY)
Patrick Murphy (New Dem-FL)
Scott Peters (New Dem-CA)
Kyrsten Sinema (New Dem-AZ)
Eric Swalwell (CA)
Juan Vargas (New Dem-CA)
Rob Zerban, who came closer to defeating Paul Ryan-- a big CISPA backer-- is probably going to challenge him again in 2014. Zerban is an advocate for Internet privacy and he opposed the bill. Right after the vote, he told me "I wish the Tea Party Republicans would get their story straight. With so many Senate Republicans citing privacy concerns while voting against bi-partisan, common sense background checks for gun purchases, it is the height of hypocrisy for House Republicans to turn around today to vote for expanding privacy violations in the name of a nonexistent threat to security. CISPA is the solution to a problem that doesn't exist, while expanding background checks for gun purchases could literally save lives. We need real representatives who want to solve real problems. The families of the victims of the Newtown shooting deserve better, and the people of Wisconsin deserve better."

Nick Ruiz is also up against a senior Republican CISPA backer, John Mica in the central Florida district just north of Orlando. Ruiz is also a dedicated privacy defender and he also said he would have voted against the bill: "John Mica voted: Yes, to government spying. I would have voted: No, to government spying. Which is to say, no, to intrusive Big Brother spying on citizens' private information as collected by private corporations for commercial purposes. Its been said that this bill effectively 'deputizes' corporations to spy on citizens and give that information to the government. It's interesting that the CISPA cyber-gestapo bill tellingly splits Democrats right down the middle. Alan Grayson, reliably held the line with a 'no' vote. And some of the far less reliably progressive Democrats (Pelosi, Wasserman Schultz et al.) came through with the correct 'no' vote, because they probably perceived it was 'safe' to do so. On the other hand, some of the more reliable progressives (Hastings, Brown, etc.) came out with an incorrect 'yes' vote.

"In the end however, it's clear that a whole swath of progressively-backed shills (Kuster, Kirkpatrick, Payne, Sinema, Murphy, Frankel, etc.) let America down with an incorrect 'yes' vote to government spying. And that is what is entirely unacceptable for the progressive community. And it's obvious why that is: an analysis by the Sunlight Foundation reported that the interests supporting the bill 'spent 140 times as much lobbying Congress as those on the other side of the debate and have dozens of former Capitol Hill insiders working on their behalf.' We can do better than people like this, who respond to lobbying pressure with open arms."

Andrew Zaleski at Technically Baltimore fleshed out what Nick was alluding to with the Sunlight Foundation report.
Supporters of the bill include big companies like Microsoft and Google, as well as major telecommunications firms, including AT&T, Verizon, Comcast and Time Warner Cable. And, according to the political finance research organization MapLight, those supporters contribute a significant amount of money to the campaigns of national politicians in favor of CISPA:

Pro-CISPA organizations and companies outspent CISPA opponents $55 million to $4 million in campaign contributions to House representatives from July 2010 through June 2012, two months after CISPA advanced through the House of Representatives the first time it was introduced, according to MapLight data compiled from

House Intelligence Committee members have benefited the most: they’ve received on average 15 times more money in campaign contributions from CISPA supporters than CISPA opponents, a fact Congressman Mike Rogers, CISPA sponsor and chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, unwittingly tweeted-- and then deleted from his Twitter feed-- in late March.

Maryland’s own 2nd District representative Dutch Ruppersberger-- ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee and co-sponsor of CISPA-- has received $162,510 from interest groups that support CISPA, with $22,000 in campaign contributions from AT&T, Comcast and Verizon alone, according to the MapLight data. Those contributions were made between July 2010 and June 2012.
The ranking Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, John Conyers says this is another example of "corporate money drowning out the voice of the people. The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act-- or CISPA-- is a vaguely-worded bill that could allow private e-mails, posts on social media, or personal information to be read by federal intelligence agencies like the NSA or law enforcement agencies such as the FBI. Even worse, following an intense lobbying campaign by private corporate interests, House Republicans have not allowed critical privacy amendments to fix the core problems with the bill... If CISPA becomes law, the federal government could have access to anything from private medical records to personal family e-mails.  And the large companies involved in sharing this private information will not be held responsible if they fail to make the right decisions with your personal information and about cyber threats."

Before the vote, Ed Perlmutter (D-CO) offered a Motion to Recommit-- backed by every Democrat plus libertarian Walter Jones (R-NC). It was designed to fix some of the flaws in CISPA:
•        This measure prohibits employers, a prospective employer, or the federal government from asking for the release of social networking passwords.

•        This final amendment prohibits the federal government from establishing a mechanism to control Americans’ access to the internet through the creation of a national internet firewall.

•        This measure requires an annual report on the number of Americans whose privacy has been breached by attack or intrusion.

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