Back in January when the SOPA Bill was on the verge of passing I challenged you on Information Space “to learn, to consider, to learn some more and then to choose your stance on SOPA and PIPA” hoping that you would stand with us at the iSchool at Syracuse University to keep the sharing of information open to all. Thankfully following the worldwide blackout of Wikipedia, Reddit and our very own iSchool page, among countless others, SOPA was indefinitely shelved by the Senate.
This was good, until recently when the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, or CISPA, emerged as the most recent proposed legislation in digital information sharing as an effort to combat “Cyberthreats”.
Why should I care about CISPA?
Proposed as an amendment to the National Security Act of 1947 the bill would, according to Time Magazine, “essentially nullify current privacy laws and set companies up to share data about users with the government without the need for court orders.” Although this is a discomforting and serious threat to our personal privacy, ultimately, the largest threat posed by CISPA is not in what it explicitly states in the legislation but rather what it fails to clearly and transparently define.
What is a Cyberthreat?
Specifically when it comes to defining a “Cyberthreat”, CISPA is worryingly vague in it’s definition. CISPA defines a cyberthreat as anything with the intent or “efforts to degrade, disrupt, or destroy” vital systems and/or networks. This allows for a huge amount of creative license in interpretation of intent behind any type of online movement, organization or development. In an age when innovation often comes with a re-evaluation and redefinition of ideas privacy, systems of sharing, and streams of communication, the ambiguity of CIPSA is incredibly dangerous to progress.
To learn more about CISPA and it’s implications check out these resources:
- CISPA Isn’t ‘Son of SOPA’ (But That’s Not Saying Much) via Wired
- Say ‘hello’ to CISPA, It Will Remind You of SOPA via CNET
- Are All CISPA Supporters What They Appear to Be? via Forbes
- 5 Reasons the CISPA Cybersecurity Bill Should Be Tossed via TIME
- CISPA Illustrates Struggle Between Security and Privacy via PCWorld
Where do we go from here?
I once again encourage you to learn about CISPA, discuss the bill with experts in the field, form your own opinions, then continue to learn some more. Our generation will be defined by technology, therefore it is important we as the primary shareholders claim and hang on to our stake in the control and power over the sharing of information on the intellectual marketplace that is the internet in this digital age.
To learn more about SOPA, watch Alexis Ohanian’s talk from #140Cuse below or view his backstage interview here.