Congress Planning To Debate CISPA Behind Closed Doors; No Public Scrutiny Allowed

from the shameful dept

We’ve been hearing for a while that when the planned markup occurs next week for CISPA, that the House Intelligence Committee is intending to hold a closed markup, basically hiding the discussion and the possible amendments from the public. There is no good reason for this. The Intelligence Committee will claim, of course, that it needs to do this so that confidential information can be discussed in debating the markup, but that’s hogwash. There are numerous concerns with the bill that can and should be addressed publicly. If there are key concerns about classified info getting out, that’s easy enough to avoid, since so much that CISPA touches on has nothing to do with classified info — and whatever comes up can be dealt with appropriately.

The truth is that this is yet another way to try to hide from the public on this issue. Congress doesn’t want an open discussion on the many problems with CISPA, so it does what it does best: try to hide things away and rush them through when (hopefully) not enough people are looking. It makes you wonder just what CISPA’s supporters are so worried about. Congress is supposed to work for the public, not hide things away from the public. This isn’t a situation where they’re discussing classified info or plans — but merely a bill focused on information sharing between the government and private companies. Any markup on CISPA needs to be public.

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Comments on “Congress Planning To Debate CISPA Behind Closed Doors; No Public Scrutiny Allowed”

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64 Comments
Jaysays:

There's more to it.

Just recently Monsanto got a massive bonus by not having to answer questions in federal court for a year. There is little good from this as a lot of people are noticing.

But I believe that if the lobbyists can get away with passing one law under lock and key, they are incentivized to ignore the public and go around them as much as possible. What’s amazing is that a ton of people aren’t speaking up about CISPA along with the other numbers of bills that infringe on the public’s ability to function for the private profit of the select few.

So there needs to be more public voices. There also needs to be more public demands to get the government to actually care about the public over profits. What is happening here continues to be politicians looking for who is funding them the most in a corrupt game of bribery that can’t end well for the nation.

bobsays:

Bad strategy-- Copyright is a GIFT to the people

For once we agree. Congress should be PROUD of strengthening copyright. They should be bragging about this one!

IT’s one of the few legal structures that benefits everyone. If you take a picture with your camera and you don’t want some big company to steal that picture, the only protection you have is copyright.

The copyright deniers are the billionaires who don’t want you to stop them from making a mint off of your photos, stories and whatnot. That’s why they’re always telling you that it’s “cool” to “share”. It’s just so they can make money on the ads.

Congress should say it loud and say it proud, “Copyright is great for everyone in America. It let’s the artists in all of us keep control of our hard work and brilliant creations.”

cpt kangarooskisays:

Re: Re: Bad strategy-- Copyright is a GIFT to the people

IT’s one of the few legal structures that benefits everyone.

No, not necessarily, and probably not as it presently exists in the US.

First, copyrights are only granted to authors, which is not everyone. Second, the value of a copyright is zero or nearly zero in almost all cases, making their ‘benefit’ zero as well. Third, copyrights necessarily burden everyone with limits as to what works they can take full advantage of. This trespass against our freedom of speech is a serious harm which may not be outweighed by a copyright related benefit.

If you take a picture with your camera and you don’t want some big company to steal that picture, the only protection you have is copyright.

Frankly I am more likely to be eaten by a shark than have this happen. If we reformed copyright so that it was only granted for specific works if the author complied with various formalities (registration, deposit, notice, fee, etc.), the problem would be solved just as well, with just as much public benefit, and less public harm, for a greater net public benefit than we have now. Would you support this? (I’m betting you would not)

The copyright deniers are the billionaires who don’t want you to stop them from making a mint off of your photos, stories and whatnot.

So if I were to “deny copyright,” whatever the hell that’s supposed to mean, would I become a billionaire? If so, sign me up! The money is more valuable to me than copyrights ever would be.

Congress should say it loud and say it proud, “Copyright is great for everyone in America. It let’s the artists in all of us keep control of our hard work and brilliant creations.”

Congress should not misuse apostrophes, and should not support copyright for control-freak reasons. That’s the worst reason to support it, and one which I would always oppose. Copyright is good only when, and to the extent that, it promotes the public interest, not greedy folks like you.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Bad strategy-- Copyright is a GIFT to the people

“First, copyrights are only granted to authors…”
Wrong, boy.
Copyrights are granted to anyone who claims them.
In fact, the vast majority of copyrights are held by corporations for work-for-hire work in movies/tv/video games/novel series/graphic novel series.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Bad strategy-- Copyright is a GIFT to the people

“The copyright deniers are the billionaires who don’t want you to stop them from making a mint off of your photos, stories and whatnot.”

Like Disney is doing with Rudyard Kipling’s and AA Milne’s work?
Like Disney/Marvel is doing with Jack Kirby’s work?
Like Time-Warner/DC Comics is doing with Jerry Siegel & Joe Shuster’s work?
Those billionares, boy?

Anonymoussays:

The Intelligence Committee will claim, of course, that it needs to do this so that confidential information can be discussed in debating the markup, but that’s hogwash.

I am sure discussions will touch upon classified information or capabilities or perceived vulnerabilities. Since it’s doubtful that you have either a security clearance or specific knowledge; I find it hard to accept your “hogwash” claim as anything more than another one of your temper tantrums over the world not bending to your view.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I don’t know how you can say that. Why aren’t the usual suspects like Lofgren, Issa and Polis making those charges? At least they’d bring a perspective to the matter by virtue of their office. I believe that each have registered concerns about the bill itself, why not the procedure?

Mike Masnicksays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

I don’t know how you can say that. Why aren’t the usual suspects like Lofgren, Issa and Polis making those charges? At least they’d bring a perspective to the matter by virtue of their office. I believe that each have registered concerns about the bill itself, why not the procedure?

Which of them is on the House Intelligence Committee?

(in case you’re playing along at home, the answer is none, which is why they have no say in what happens in the markup)

Mike Masnicksays:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

No I’m not. They have no say in the openness of the TPP negotiations and they spoke up. They have no say in the openness of the CISPA markup and they did not speak up.

Not true. Congress absolutely has oversight authority on trade agreements. But markups are exclusive domain of those committees. Not sure why you’re fighting this point. There’s no opinion issue here, you’re factually off base.

Anonymoussays:

Congress allowed the entertainment industries to keep the public out of talks over copyright and this has now been stretched to include CISPA. you can bet your ass that the main aim of this disastrous bill is to ramp up further copyright laws and has little to do with anything else, other than getting major government contracts sent to certain ‘security’ companies that just happen to be sponsoring certain Senators or making ‘campaign donations’ to them. as with the majority of things to do with government, the ones that are supposed to be represented, the people, are the first to be excluded, the last then to know anything but the first to be penalised! you can bet your arse that this has been instigated by de Gucht from the EU, just as he tried to do over ACTA. fucking prick!!

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re:

From Atlantic Wire:

” “SOPA was about intellectual property; CISPA is about cyber security, but opponents believe both bills have the potential to trample constitutional rights,” writes ProPublica’s Megha Rajagopalan. But, both have to do with the way you use the Internet and both threaten user privacy. This bill has nothing to do with copyright and online intellectual property.”

Note the last sentence. CISPA has plenty of problems and there really is no need for inventing incredible FUD. It only makes you look stupid, uninformed and desperate.

Mike Masnicksays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

As a matter of formality, the tech industry opposes any new regulation as it likely means less cash for them to stuff their already over-crowded pieholes with.

The tech industry is actually neutral to supportive of CISPA, so not sure what you’re talking about other than your typical conspiracy-theory kneejerk ignorance blaming everything we agree with on tech industry influence…

The reality, of course, is that you’re wrong.

Mike Masnicksays:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

So lots of telcos and almost zippo from SillyCON Valley. Just as suspected.

You said tech industry. Kinda funny to watch you try to move the goal posts once we proved that you’re 100% wrong.

As for Silicon Valley, check out where many of those companies are located. Intel? Hell, they practically named Silicon Valley after Intel. Oracle? Yup. Silicon Valley. Juniper? Why, just down the street from Intel.

Meanwhile, TechAmerica represents a ton of Silicon Valley companies, including HP, Adobe, Amazon (not exactly Silicon Valley, but major internet player) Apple, Autodesk, Box, Brocade, Callidus, Cisco, Cloudera, Wyse, Dolby, eBay, Facebook, Google, HP, Infineon, ISSI, Ironkey, Marvell, NetApp, Plantronics, Symantec, Synopsis, TIBCO, Trend Micro, VMWare and many many more.

All of those are based in Silicon Valley, and many of them are huge, huge names in all different aspects of the tech and internet industries.

So, um, no. Not just telco. It’s tech. And internet. And telco.

Look, you can admit you were wrong. Just try.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

You would look like less stupid actually reading what he said.

Quote:

“The tech industry is actually neutral to supportive of CISPA”

But if you want some names.

Facebook.
http://www.nbcnews.com/technology/technolog/facebook-cool-cispa-how-about-you-719091

IBM, AT&T even Microsoft came in support of it.
http://techland.time.com/2012/04/30/the-breakdown-who-supports-cispa-and-who-doesnt/

Now who is looking idiot now?

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re:4 Telcos Love this bill

This bill will nullify all sorts of rules to protect their customers privacy. Just about every telco loves this bill. Not because it’s good, but because it has a “get out of jail free” card attached for them.

That in of itself is a good reason to complain to your congressman about this bill. Of course he won’t listen…

Uriel-238says:

I'm pretty sure this era of extreme surveillance...

will be followed by an era of extreme encryption security. If civilians can be convicted based on information obtained through private channels, it will become a regular safety protocol to encrypt those channels, especially if convictions are made not because of actual wrongdoing but perceived intent.

We have already seen deniable plausibility added to data encryption (so that a secondary password unlocks a benign “decryption” of the data) and it’s popularity increases with each incident of a court requiring the unlocking of an archive.

Similarly, if the coppers are really out to get us with no concern for peace or justice, we’ll need to take measures to protect us from them, and that includes encrypting everything on line lest it be (mis)interpreted as conspiracy to terrorism.

Uriel-238says:

Re: Re: Re: Re: I'm pretty sure this era of extreme surveillance...

How long before ‘unlicensed’ encrypted traffic is ordered blocked for national security reasons?

That would paint the US too much like Iraq and Pakistan and oh all the other countries we like to hate. It would also push many of us into the my-God-what-have-we-done threshold.

And people would commit the (minor) crime of using illicit security rather than the (less minor) crime of being a terror suspect.

I think they’ll take our guns away first.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: I'm pretty sure this era of extreme surveillance...

I’m not so sure. I can easily see the government claiming that encryption is perfectly legal, but needs to be regulated. So it will require people and companies to obtain some sort of license that will require some reason why the applicant has a need for encryption. I think 90% of the population could care less. Their day-to-day encrypting of bank transactions, and online shopping will be handled by those companies. Few people have need for encrypting personal data and will probably be content with the government’s national security justification.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: I'm pretty sure this era of extreme surveillance...

That would never work. There are people on the Canadian and Mexican borders that do get their internet from wireless providers acrross the border becuase it is the only internet they can get.

There would be no way to enforce such a thing on Mexican or Canadian ISPs, as they would not be subject to US laws, even if they did have US customers on their wireless services

John Fendersonsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: I'm pretty sure this era of extreme surveillance...

How long before ‘unlicensed’ encrypted traffic is ordered blocked for national security reasons?

That’s not how it would play out in the US, for numerous political and technical reasons.

What will happen in the US is that the law will require you to decrypt or provide decryption keys for communications on demand, with severe penalties if you refuse to do so. This is already the law in a sense: a judge can issue a subpoena demanding you do this. You will go to prison if you refuse. The main change will to remove the need to get a judge involved in the first place.

Uriel-238says:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: I'm pretty sure this era of extreme surveillance...

This is something to which a plausible deniability mechanism would would serve, in which (as I described above) a secondary password would “decrypt” the email or data to reveal something more inert.

Granted, the courts will catch on to what is happening. They may intimidate someone to open the false bottom. But there is no way it can be proven that the witness didn’t sufficiently open the data without an intervening agency somehow cracking the data themselves. At worst they can hold you for contempt for appearing to be innocent of their accusations.

We’ve already seen this for sensitive corporate data on large hard drives. But when it becomes common practice to secure email to Aunt Millie, there’s no way for the government to tell benign email from cover mail.

When the agents of justice turn against commoners, we look to those already oppressed to see how they survive, no matter their crimes. In the contemporary era, terrorists and pedophiles.

special-interestingsays:

Government openness should be demanded at every opportunity. All attempts to meet in private by public representatives should be rebuffed even for high medium to high level security meetings. There may be such a thing as national security but it if affects the everyday private activities of normal people its too much to bear.

Privacy is such a huge issue as it touches every single American life. Since it affects the individual more than companies and their desires to both collect their own data and also not get caught up in government spy wangling it’s not surprising they might support it blindly. Firms also look to charge the government for such data in the same way telcos do for cell phone data.

Its a valid money trail for public awareness of profit incentives for selling them out. The figurative rats are out there and they bite.

Other reasons to support it might be nudging from industry special interest groups or subtle political threats from government about viability to future contracts. Many ways to force/coerce/entice the ambiguous firm. (stretching plausibility but its happened before.)

Shameless plug;

Please donate cash to EFF or the few senators in whatever states that fight for your privacy. Its the only way because physical protest has been basically been removed from the American option.

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