Security Experts: CISPA Not Needed, Would Do More Harm than Good

George Washington's picture


6953320050 eddebe4164 z Security Experts: CISPA Not Needed, Would Do More Harm than Good

Image by William Banzai

Torture doesn’t provide any actionable intelligence - it actually reduces the chance that the witness will tell you anything – and yet the government insisted on using it.

Security experts (conservative hawks and liberal doves alike) agree that waging war in the Middle East weakens national security and increases terrorism – see this, this, this, this, this, this and this – but the government insisted on doing it.

For years, many high-level economists and financial experts have said that bailing out the giant banks will make a true economic recovery impossible … but the government keeps bailing them out.

The government tried to pass SOPA – even though security experts said it would harm Internet security.

Now – after the defeat of SOPA – boneheads in Congress are doing it again … trying to ram through the CISPA bill which would do nothing useful, and would more or less destroy all privacy in the U.S.*

As security expert Kaspersky Lab reports today:

A long list of security, networking and computer science experts have signed a letter sent to lawmakers on Monday, asking them to drop support for CISPA and other proposed cybersecurity bills because they consider the measures overly broad and say they would infringe on users’ privacy and civil liberties. The group, which includes Bruce Schneier, Peter Neumann and others, said the bills’ focus on allowing the sharing of users’ traffic with government agencies would ”unnecessarily trade our civil liberties for the promise of improved network security.”


The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) has become a focus of criticism and ire from a number of groups who oppose the bill’s provision that could allow ISPs to turn over traffic from their networks to government agencies as part of a program to share information on security threats and attacks. Critics have said that this could amount to wiretapping without the knowledge of the users whose data is captured and shared.


The technologists, researchers and academics who signed the letter sent to congressmen this week said that the promise of better network security in return for this kind of data sharing is not a valid one.


“As experts in the field, we reject this false trade-off and urge you to oppose any cybersecurity initiative that does not explicitly include appropriate methods to ensure the protection of users’ civil liberties,” the write in the letter.


CISPA, introduced last fall by Rep. Michael Rogers (R-MI), is designed, in part, to allow intelligence agencies to share information about ongoing threats and attacks, not just among themselves but also with appropriate private-sector companies. Critics worry that the bill would eliminate some of the existing protections against warrantless wiretapping and electronic eavesdropping and would not give users any knowledge of or recourse against the sharing of their private communications.


The bill is scheduled to go to the House floor for a vote this week and final amendments to the measure are due today. Some people have compared CISPA to SOPA, the highly controversial online copyright legislation that was the focus of so much criticism and anger. The bills are not that much alike and have different scopes and goals, and CISPA does not seem to be drawing quite as much public reaction as SOPA did.


However, some groups warn that CISPA may, in fact, be worse for consumers’ rights than SOPA would have been. Officials at the Center for Democracy and Technology said that “CISPA has a very broad, almost unlimited definition of the information that can be shared with government agencies and it supersedes all other privacy laws” and “is likely to lead to expansion of the government’s role in the monitoring of private communications.”


In their letter to lawmakers, the group of Internet engineers, security experts and academics said that passing CISPA would be a major mistake.


“We appreciate your interest in making our networks more secure, but passing legislation that suffers from the problems above would be a grave mistake for privacy and civil liberties, and will not be a step forward in making us safer,” they wrote.

CNET notes:

Last-minute opposition to the CISPA, which has been criticized as a “Big Brother” cybersecurity bill, is growing as the U.S. House of Representatives prepares for a vote this week.

Rep. Ron Paul, the Texas Republican and presidential candidate, warned in a statement and YouTube video today that CISPA (PDF) represents the “latest assault on Internet freedom.” Paul warned that “CISPA is Big Brother writ large,” and said that he hopes that “the public responds to CISPA as it did to SOPA back in January.”

In addition, 18 Democratic House members signed a letter (PDF) this afternoon warning that CISPA “does not include necessary safeguards” and that critics have raised “real and serious privacy concerns.” The number of people signing an anti-CISPA petition is now at more than 718,000, up about 100,000 from a week ago.

But most of the web giants like Google and Facebook which opposed SOPA are now supporting CISPA.

Why? Probably because SOPA would have held them responsible for their users’ actions, while CISPA won’t make the web giants responsible.   In other words, they don’t have skin in the game this time around.

Here’s an action list for stopping CISPA.

* The government is destroying our privacy anyway. But CISPA would codify it in law.


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mkkby's picture

Freedom went out the window years ago.  Is there not one honest lawyer and judge who can contest this crap?  The last 2 presidents think their executive orders are new laws.  That's a dictorship in all but name.

This cancer ridden country is all but DOA.  What's a few more pin pricks?  Forget all this.  Just let the corpse die and rot.

ThankYouSirMayIHaveAnother's picture

It's already being done, this is just for the legalization so that information obtained doesn't get thrown out in court.

connda's picture

Since when has the guberment done much of anything that benefits that average person? 

Remember: Trickle down.  Obscene feast at the top; scrapes and bones for the masses.



Colonial Intent's picture

When bush was in charge GW was pro govt, yet the black guy gets in and he's suddenly anti govt.


Marc_W's picture

Same thing happens every time there's a Democratic president.  All the fringe right wingers come out of their holes and go into attack mode.


It is interesting that as long as a Republican is in charge they are ultra patriots that would sooner shoot you in the face for questioning our glorious overseas wars than debate you.  But as soon as a Dem gets in office, all is lost, and the blue helmeted U.N. troops coming to take your guns and make your son gay are just around the corner.


I have no doubt that this author is exactly one of those guys.  Some old dude.  Probably a veteran, probably retired from some cushy government job with a pension.  Now he sits in his shitty dilapidated home on a couple acres of land and writes this garbage daily.

Marc_W's picture

CISPA is happening, get used to it.  There is literally 0% chance that some version of this bill won't be passed.  Zero.


But it really isn't the sinister thing you sheeple think it is.  All of the sinister stuff is already being done by the NSA, and they don't give a fuck about your laws because they operate under military authority, not civil law.  CISPA is exactly what it claims to be, a way for the government (read: intelligence agencies) to share information (read: intelligence on foreign state sponsored hackers) with private sector companies (read: the victims of said foreign state sponsored hackers).  Etc.


Of all the things to flip your shit over, CISPA is hardly the one.  It is a benign and yawn worthy law.  And it's going to pass.

WezTheJuic's picture


So far you have proven yourself to be one of them, or do you think that far.  But hey, I guess you feel that it is ok for the NSA to legitimize its current actions.

So now I would ask you, what is the net result CISPA?

Should almost call you cow.

geekgrrl's picture

These aren't the droids you're looking for...

Marc_W's picture

99% of you don't understand that picture at the top of this article.


First, you have to understand the "it's a trap" meme.  Originating with Adrmial Ackbar in Star Wars.


Then you have to understand the "you've just activated my trap card" Yugio playing black guy meme.


Then you have to understand the door trap meme.


And finally you might get the picture at the top of this article.  It is saying that CISPA is a trap.

JW n FL's picture





Maybe this is worth it for you?

Maybe it works later on some how!

Thanks for Helping US!!


POGO sent a letter today to the Senate and House Armed Services Committees recommending that an expensive and severely flawed variant of the Littoral Combat Ship program be eliminated. The letter comes on the heels of POGO's release of Navy documents revealing serious cracking and corrosion problems with the ship--along with evidence of dangerous equipment failures.

The Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) is a surface vessel commissioned to operate close to shore. It’s supposed to be the jaguar of Navy ships: fast and agile, with the flexibility to both engage in surface combat with modern-day pirates, and also take down submarines and mines. There are two variants of the LCS: one built by a team led by General Dynamics, which will cost $345.8 million per ship; and the other built by a team led by Lockheed Martin, which will cost $357.5 million per ship.

Haddock's picture

Whilst they may be correct, remember that Kaspersky Labs is a Russian company backed by that government, so probably have their own agenda which is not purely about freedom from government interference...

Marc_W's picture

Correct.  Nobody gives a fuck what Kaspersky says and they have direct ties to Russian intelligence.

Yen Cross's picture

I'm here! Get over that top cat mind set!

Happy Days's picture

Keep going to work ladies and gentlemen...your taxes are being used to serve you well....

April 15 is Nikita Khrushchev.s birthday and the day Abraham Lincoln died of his head wound....

April 22 is Vladimir Lenin's birthday...the same as EARTH DAY ...


flattrader's picture

Yes.  I'm certain Mama Krushchev held in little Nikkita so he could be born on the day Abraham Lincoln died...I'm sure that was her first thought...Second only to, "Get this fucking little monster outta me!"

Yes.  Women do this all the time.

Re: Earth Day and Lennin

U.S. Sen. Gaylord Nelson, the guy who dreamed up the nationwide teach-in that became Earth Day, once tried to put the whole "Earth Day as communist plot" idea into perspective.

"On any given day, a lot of both good and bad people were born," Nelson said. "A person many consider the world's first environmentalist, Saint Francis of Assisi, was born on April 22. So was Queen Isabella. More importantly, so was my Aunt Tillie."

April 22 is also the birthday of J. Sterling Morton, the Nebraska newspaper editor who founded Arbor Day (a national holiday devoted to planting trees) on April 22, 1872, when Lenin was still in diapers. Maybe April 22 was chosen to honor Morton and nobody knew. Maybe environmentalists were trying to send a subliminal message to the national subconscious that would transform people into tree-planting zombies. One birthday "plot" seems just about as likely as the other. What's the chance that one person in a thousand could tell you when either of these guys were born.

I think you're off your meds.  Have someone call the doctor.

MrBoompi's picture

When you say these "things" the government is doing will actually do more harm than good, you forget they are not meant to improve the lives of peons like us.  They enrich the wealthy and help them with their paranoia.

Papasmurf's picture

If they have paranoia, how does this help them?  Is paranoia selective?  

Undermind_'s picture

It is only through our complicity that we give these people their power.  We as peons continue to provide both our money and our labor to a system that does not have our interests in heart.

Below you can find links to 800+ companies (some part of business alliances acting on their behalf) that support CISPA, as well as its 112 congressional cosponsors.

If you'd like to be actively involved against CISPA, you could stop patronizing any or all of these businesses (it's most effective if you tell them why you're leaving), and calling your elected officials to let them you won't be supporting them.

It's likely impossible for you to cut support for all of these people; just know that every time you shop with them, work for them, or vote for them, you're likely promoting a broken system that is not in your best interests.


TradingTroll's picture

Go north, young man (and woman), they have a functioning constitution and court system:


Canada’s top court strikes down police powers to wiretap without warrants Published On Fri Apr 13 2012
Tonda MacCharles Ottawa Bureau

OTTAWA—The Supreme Court of Canada struck down a law that gives police warrantless wiretap powers to prevent an emergency, saying it provides no accountability or oversight mechanism.

The unanimous judgment issued Friday gave Parliament 12 months to re-write the law. In the meantime, the 1993 Criminal Code (Section 184.4) — the only wiretap provision that does not require after-the-fact notification either to the person wiretapped or some kind of report to Parliament — remains in force.

The decision doesn’t pose a risk to public safety while Parliament rewrites the notice provision, said lawyer Joe Wilkinson, counsel to the Criminal Lawyers Association of Ontario, which intervened in the case.

It is still open to police to intercept private communications to prevent emergency situations but “they would do well to give some kind of notice to whomever it is ended up getting intercepted,” he said.

Wilkinson said there have only been a few superior court rulings on the power, and police were working “very much in the dark” as to its proper use.

Now, he said, “the police still have the bulk of the section and they’ve got it with some really good guidance from the top court in the land.”

The country’s top court, ruling in a 2006 drug-related kidnapping case, said most of the law “passes constitutional muster.”

Police may only use the authority if they believe “on reasonable grounds” that the situation is so urgent, a judge’s authorization could not be obtained under another provision. But it was deemed unconstitutional because “unless a criminal prosecution results, the targets of the wiretapping may never learn of the interceptions and will be unable to challenge police use of this power.

The unanimous ruling was the first written by rookie judges Michael Moldaver and Andromache Karakatsanis.

Lawyer Neil Mackenzie, communications counsel for the B.C. attorney general ministry’s criminal law branch, said the high court recognized that urgent “life and death” situations do arise, and that unauthorized emergency interceptions may be necessary.

“The primary concern really is the issue of notice and there are legislative changes underway that should address those issues,” he said.

Justice Minister Rob Nicholson was not available to comment, nor was the federal government’s lawyer, Cheryl Tobias, who argued the case.

“We will be reviewing the court’s decision carefully to determine next steps. It would be inappropriate to comment further at this time,” said Nicholson’s spokesperson, Julie Di Mambro, in an emailed reply.

It does not affect the conviction of six people jailed in the kidnapping of Peter Li, his wife Jennifer Pan and their friend Xiao Chang. However, they have appealed and argued that the tainted wiretap evidence should not have been admitted at trial.

The offenders — Yat Fung Albert Tse, Nhan Trong Ly, Viet Bac Nguyen, Huong Dac Doan, Daniel Luis Soux and Myles Alexander Vandrick — were convicted and got lengthy jail terms ranging from 10 to 18 years.

Ken Westlake, lawyer for Doan, doubted Friday’s decision would have a significant impact on the offenders’ ongoing challenge to their conviction.

But he said he was “heartened” the high court supported the principle for judicial approval over wiretaps. “That important principal has started to be slightly eroded in these conservative times of tough-on-crime.”

He said the rewritten law should require not just notice to targets, but also reports to Parliament — although the Supreme Court left it up to lawmakers.

“I think it’s a really important thing for Parliament and a supervisory committee to keep track of when, how, how often and in what circumstances this stuff is going on,” said Westlake. “Right now nobody has any idea how often this is used.”

Using the emergency unauthorized interception powers outlined in Section 184.4 of the Criminal Code, police began immediately intercepting the private communications of Peter Li’s daughter after she notified them of the kidnapping. Her father had been allowed to call her to relay the $10-million ransom demand.

The emergency wiretap provision allows interceptions without prior judicial authorization where the police believe it is “immediately necessary to prevent an unlawful act that would cause serious harm.”

It also requires police to begin the process of seeking a warrant, which in this case, they got 24 hours later.

The victims were held for 25 days, beaten and Tasered before being released by their captors, who ultimately picked up $1.3 million in ransom drops.

The trial judge found the warrantless intercept a breach of Section 8 of the Charter, which protects individuals from unreasonable search and seizure. He later admitted the evidence, under Section 24, saying it would not bring the administration of justice into disrepute.

Lawyer Chris Wayland, who intervened on behalf of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, said no one in the case argued emergency powers are unnecessary, yet he welcomed the court’s demand for accountability.

“Previously you could have a warrantless wiretap set up on your phone and never be told about it, and you’d never know that it had ever been done,” he said. “The court was quite clear today that’s a dangerous thing to have in a free society.”

Wayland also suggested the ruling potentially has implications for Bill C-30, the federal Conservative government’s proposal to demand, without a warrant, subscriber information from Internet Service Providers. Wayland said Section 17 of the bill does not include any requirement — if no charges result — for police to notify a person after the fact that their information had been obtained.


WezTheJuic's picture

Very true for now.  But there are full runs being made on us right now.

Bill C30.   Next version soon to come.

We are getting disected as well.  AND yes, finincially as well.


Marc_W's picture

North America is fucked in the long run.  If you have to work and want to live an optimal life style in the short term move to Australia.  If you're wealthy enough to not work then move to New Zealand.  If you have children and give a shit about their future, move to Western Europe (not any part of the U.K.).


Europe has a long term future.  The Anglosphere doesn't.

WezTheJuic's picture

It is good that you are opening your eyes, or trying.  AND, it is good that you are sharing, your thoughts.

That is where it begins.

noob's picture

ha ha ha
ha ha ha
hahaha ha-ha

Escapeclaws's picture

Do you think that glassy-eyed facebook guy wants to preserve our civil liberties?

Papasmurf's picture

His face is on the cover of time, along with Bernanke, Greenspan, Obama etc.  That can't be good.

Revert_Back_to_1792_Act's picture

Hitler was on there six times. 

All six covers shown on this website.

He was the man of the Year on one of them.

Time Magazine's reporting is interesting to say the least.

Compare this;

to the Time Magazine article.

"Over cups of coffee and cold cheese sandwiches, the moneymen debated long into the night whether to give the Hunts a loan. Federal Reserve Chairman Paul Volcker made an appearance wearing a shirt over his pajama top and kept an eye on the proceedings. But finally the Hunts were told it was no go."

That is some top notch reporting.  Hard hitting.

I would have liked to have had a cheese sammich and a cup of joe with Paul Volcker and the moneymen.


technicalanarchy's picture

They get in information now. Only difference is they want to wag it in our face that they have the information. YOU and YOU and You all our BITCHES YOU are.

I was reading an article last night that some chosen businesses were involved with the threat fusion centers, giving and getting information. 

Marc_W's picture

America is a fascist nation so naturally most fortune 500 corporations have people with government security clearances working directly for them.  And naturally most fortune 500 companies share any and all information with the U.S. government.

FXPortent's picture

Why do the pols always use acronyms that are easy to remember?


And why even bother, this bill will have ZERO support from the public.


Including the right and left of the political spectrum.

bonderøven-farm ass's picture

Public support isn't required.  Most Americans are too busy, too ignorant, or too indifferent to give a fuck....That's the sad reality.

WezTheJuic's picture

Or how about.

50% in fear.

50% in denial.

AND 100% being busy in trying to survive in their own definitions.

ddtuttle's picture

Great! All your network activity comes pre-hacked.

steve from virginia's picture


SOPA, then CISPA, then something else. They never stop coming, year after year until they get what they want.

They don't know what they want but they will keep trying to get it.

geekgrrl's picture

It's called rope, and they have plenty now.

noob's picture

They want it all...


"* The government is destroying our privacy anyway. But CISPA would codify it in law."

...finalizing that which already is.

Ripped Chunk's picture

Mass detention. Followed by manufacturing of Soylent Green. Those that don't meet USDA standards to the ovens to generate power. 

Escapeclaws's picture

What are civil liberties?

rwe2late's picture

 civil liberties are the "quaint" legal provisions often found in

various "damned scraps of paper" 

such as the Geneva Conventions and the US Constitution.

And of course, those provisions were never meant to apply to our leaders anyhow.

We have the solemn word of our top leaders to that effect.

Ripped Chunk's picture

Oh way back about 40 or 50 years ago I hear they had something called that......

Colombian Gringo's picture

Didn't you know, They hate us for our liberties.

So the US government is taking away all our liberties to protect us, so that They will no longer hate us.  Makes sense, doesn't it?

I did it by Occident's picture

like the "we must destoy the village in order to save it"  sigh...

NotApplicable's picture

Well, of course it does more harm than good, they're fucking criminals!

Why is this so hard for the voting class to understand?

Oh wait, I forgot, it's a belief system. Logic has no place within it.

Good jorb, voters!

WezTheJuic's picture


Short term Gain, for long term pain.  (Which is one reason on why we are all in this mess.)

Bottom Line.  Two entities stand to gain from this.

1) Government.  Yes, they get to legitimize and skew future Big Brother actions.  BUT WAIT, then they get away with all of the other ILLEGAL Big Brother actions from their past.

2)TPTB.  Banksters.  Too Big to Fail corporations.  Do I have to repeat myself?

SO, where do you draw your line?

Well Stated N/A


Marc_W's picture

You need to deicate something to the Dark Net.  Don't just leech bandwidth from the TOR network, run a relay, run a bridge, run something for Freenet or i2p.  Learn to code.  Participate in the darknet/cipherpunk communities.  DO SOMETHING.


It is clear that "going dark" is only going to increase in the future as more and more sheeple become aware that the internet is nothing but a giant spynet for their governments and the corporations that are both participants in a fascist society.  We need talented coders, but we also need supporters.  Financial, bandwidth donations, server operators, forum moderators, whatever.


The internet isn't going to free itself.  And your governments sure as fuck aren't going to do it for you.  Encrypt EVERYTHING, tell the police state to go fuck themselves.

NidStyles's picture

A better idea would be to go outside and start teaching people yourself how the whole system works. At least then, you might have someone to help you out when you are in need rather than just knowing a bunch of random screen name from butt-fuck everywhere.


The biggest factor to the power of the state is the lack of communication between people within locality. When your lines are spread over such a wide area and so thin, you can not form a proper resistance to the locals that are on the statist bandwagon partially, or full blown NWO types. Their power is derived from that simple fact, because there is a power vacuum and they use this to gobble up all of the power.

Marc_W's picture

Nail that sticks up gets hammered down.  In a brutal fascist police state such as the United States what you suggest is suicide.  You will be blacklisted from all high paying professions.  You will come under scrutiny from myriad government agencies, looking for any excuse to hammer you into the ground.


You are a fool to challenge the totalitarian plutocrats at the top of American society in such a direct manner.  No, we must work from the shadows and spread the ideals of liberty so that eventually there are enough sheeple to demand it from the tyrants that rule our lives.

falak pema's picture

police state, one party Oligarchy rule, total market manupulation, one product domination made in China, Military-Financial hegemony... The future looks good. Hope its not exportable. Not that China is not already there! 

If the USA and China agree this is the way to run the world; what do the 5 billion others do with their hopes and aspirations.

Maybe with the energy/Water/Air/RM crunch coming around the corner as of 2025; when liquid oil becomes scarce relative to burgeoning second/third world demand, and all other alternatives go sky high price wise; we will be in a groove that will take us to 1-2 billion world population at end of century.

Imagine living on a steep slope like that. I won't be there to see it and frankly I don't mind.