July 2015, Vol. 14, No. 7
It’s Not Cyber Security, It’s Cyber Surveillance
For five years, privacy and internet freedom advocates have successfully fended off cyber “security” bills that encourage corporations to share personal customer information with each other, and with the government. Our luck may be running out.
Cyber hawks have been on the attack, using recent high-profile hacks to sound the alarm over cybersecurity and force legislation through Congress. The House passed the Protecting Cyber Networks Act in April, and the Senate will soon vote on the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (S 754), known as CISA. Just like in the anti-terrorism arena, the emphasis is less on sensible security measures, and more on data sharing and surveillance.
The bills aren’t cyber security, they are cyber surveillance!
Both bills offer a “you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours” deal between corporations and the government that encourages corporations to share massive amounts of customer data with the government in exchange for legal immunity from privacy lawsuits.
The Senate could vote on CISA as early as next week, and groups like the Chamber of Commerce are lobbying hard for the bill. Grassroots action is desperately needed. Take Action: Ask your Senators to Oppose CISA.
Here’s why we’re opposed to CISA:
- CISA allows companies to share nearly any type of information with the government, including our personal information;
- The FBI and NSA automatically get all the shared data. And they can use it for purposes beyond cyber security;
- CISA creates a vast new exemption to the Freedom of Information Act;
- CISA allows “hackbacks” that could harm third party networks.
Notably missing from the bill is any requirement for basic cyber hygiene like encryption, or strong passwords, which most experts affirm would be the most effective cyber security measures.
In fact, as Jennifer Granick, Director of Civil Liberties at the Stanford Center for Internet and Society explains, the bills “gut legal protections against government fishing expeditions” and don’t do much to keep us safe:
And none of the recent cyberattacks—not Sony, not Target-and not the devastating grab of sensitive background check interviews on government employees at the Office of Personnel Management—would have been mitigated by these bills.
Read the latest news and analysis from the People’s Blog for the Constitution
The People’s Blog for the Constitution features news and analysis beyond the headlines on a daily basis, an offers an easy way to stay up-to-date and informed.
- Look Away Dixie! The Confederate flag hasn’t had a week this bad since April 1865
- Keep Fear Alive Since the PATRIOT Act sunset, the media has reported on two terror ‘plots’ thwarted by the FBI
- Anti-Torture Amendment Passes Senate Why did we need another law banning torture? And why did 21 Senators vote against it?
- Did Lone Wolf Terrorism Target Charleston, Paris and Boston? Clueless reporting as civil liberties erode
- Celebrating Whistleblowers with Marsha Coleman-Adebayo and Kevin Gosztola A conversation facilitated by BORDC/DDF National Field Organizer George Friday (audio)
- When Will the Videos of Force-Fed Guantanamo Detainees be Released? Disturbing videos have not been made public despite a judge’s order
To get involved in any of these campaigns, please email BORDC’s Organizing Team. We are eager to hear from you and to help support you activism.
- Honor True Patriots: Masha Coleman-Adebayo of Bethesda, MD
- A New Version of Justice for Chicago Torture Victims
- Oakland: Hella Privacy! Maybe.
- Promoting Racial, Economic and Social Justice in Dallas
- Charlotte passes civil rights resolution based on BORDC’s model legislation
- Raleigh unites to confront racism and Islamophobia
- Cleveland: Still demanding justice and accountability
- Oakland: A crystal ball for cops?
- Cleveland: Groups call for improvement to consent decree
BORDC in the news
June 1, Sections of the Patriot Act just expired. What now? Sue Udry on Section 215.
June 3, En Español: Sue Udry on the NSA
June 8, USA Freedom Act Falls Short on Reforming NSA Dragnet Surveillance Peddling the illusion of reform: Sue Udry on the shortcomings of the USA Freedom Act.
June 20, Beyond the Patriot and USA Freedom Acts to the end of the American surveillance state Sue Udry explains why the American people deserve a full audit of government spying programs, and how it will take way more than just voting to get it.
Resources and Opportunities
To help encourage outreach, public education, and grassroots mobilization, BORDC/DDF provides microgrants to grassroots coalitions pursuing local campaigns to advance civil rights and civil liberties.
- Grants up to $500 are available to help active coalitions expand their local visibility and/or host events. To apply for a grant please email the BORDC Organizing Team.
BORDC/DDF is hiring!