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Senate Cedes More Power to the NSA By Passing CISA

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Under the guise of “cybersecurity,” the Senate on Tuesday passed a spying bill that “carves a giant hole in all our privacy laws and allows tech and telecom companies to hand over all sorts of private information to intelligence agencies without any court process whatsoever,” writes Trevor Timm at The Guardian.

Timm continues:

All that is needed for companies to hand over huge swaths of information to the government is for it to contain “cyber threat indicators” – a vague phrase that can be interpreted to mean pretty much anything. Your personal information – which can include the content of emails – will be handed over to the Department of Homeland Security, the agency supposedly responsible for the nation’s cybersecurity. From there the information can be sent along to the NSA, which can add it to databases or use it to conduct even more warrantless searches on its internet backbone spying (which once again, a judge ruled last week could not be challenged in court because no one can prove the NSA is spying on them, since the agency inevitably keeps that information secret). …

There were barely any actual cybersecurity experts who were for the bill. A large group of respected computer scientists and engineers were against it. So were cyberlaw professors. Civil liberties groups uniformly opposed (and were appalled by) the bill. So did consumer groups. So did the vast majority of giant tech companies. Yet it still sailed through the Senate, mostly because lawmakers – many of whom can barely operate their own email – know hardly anything about the technology that they’re crafting legislation about. …

This is the state of “cybersecurity” legislation in this country, where lawmakers wanted to do something, but lacking any sort of technical expertise – or any clue at all what to do – just decided to cede more power to intelligence agencies like the NSA. The bill, which used to be known as Cispa, has been festering in Congress for years, and now it looks like it will finally head to the president’s desk. …

In an era of secret law, where the government has no problem completely re-interpreting laws in complete secrecy to allow mass spying on Americans, we now have another law on the books that carves a hole in our privacy laws, contains vague language that can be interpreted any which way, and that has provisions inserted into it specifically to prevent us from finding out how they’re using it.

—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.

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Source: http://www.truthdig.com/eartotheground/item/senate_cedes_more_power_to_the_nsa_by_passing_cisa_20151028/


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