CISPA Passes the House. Yes, This Affects You.

Deathy By Encryption

Back when I first started in online marketing, legislating the internet was just a glimmer in the public’s eye. Even on that side of things, we took for granted the pioneering spirit of the internet, because so many of us thrive on the internet as it is. Hard to imagine it any other way! Those days are long past. It’s inevitable something will pass, the question is what?

Earlier this year, SOPA was introduced and defeated. Many well-meaning legislators tried to put forth a law that greatly affected avid users, but weren’t well understood by those who don’t rely on the internet for their livelihood or other reasons. Internet experts were easily dismissed, which blew my mind when I watched the hearings!

CISPA, which some say is much worse, was just passed a day ahead of schedule in the House with amendments. Here’s a breakdown of how the representatives voted.

I want to point something out in this bill, because I think it’s something that a lot of people don’t keep in mind when they post on the internet. This is a very good quote from TechDirt:

The government would be able to search information it collects under CISPA for the purposes of investigating American citizens with complete immunity from all privacy protections as long as they can claim someone committed a “cybersecurity crime”. Basically it says the 4th Amendment does not apply online, at all. Moreover, the government could do whatever it wants with the data as long as it can claim that someone was in danger of bodily harm, or that children were somehow threatened—again, notwithstanding absolutely any other law that would normally limit the government’s power. — Source: TechDirt



What does this mean? This translates to the legal authorities’ ability to profile you based not only on what you post, but when, and to whom. Every post in anger? Threaten someone bodily harm but not really mean it?

This bill also supercedes any privacy doctrine or guidelines on the web. Eventually, there will be other internet options that will pop up, but when they flourish they’ll likely be illegal at first before the internet splits. What we’ve experienced for so many years is changing and the so-called reckoning is just beginning.

I don’t want to sound conspiratorial or doom-and-gloom here, but I do want to continue to warn you, my dear readers, that the internet is not the free-for-all so many would have us believe. There’s this thing called a “digital footprint” wherever you walk. Something to think about as more legislation comes to bear. Everything — and I mean everything — is being tracked.

I would like to thank Joshua Kubli from for pointing out that the fate of this legislation has not yet passed the Senate, nor has Obama weighed in. I know many of you may not be politically active, but if you have an opinion, now would be the time to express it.

    Mood: Con Crudding
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Monica Valentinelli is a writer, editor, and game developer. Her portfolio includes stories, games, comics, essays, and pop culture books.

In addition to her own worlds, she has worked on a number of different properties including Firefly, Vampire: the Masquerade, Hunter: the Vigil, Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn, and Robert E. Howard’s Conan.

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