I found this article on CNET and believe it ties in very nicely with our class discussions about privacy. The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) is a proposed law in the USA which would allow the government to “investigate cyber threats and ensure the security of networks against cyberattack” by allowing the government to have access to Internet traffic information from many U.S. companies. The bill would overrule all existing federal and state laws by saying “notwithstanding any other provision of law.” Opponents of the bill say that the bill will “waive every single privacy law ever enacted in the name of cybersecurity” and U.S. Representative Ron Paul has even gone so far as to call the bill “Big Brother writ large.” The bill is supported by many telecommunications and information technology companies such as AT&T, IBM, INTEL, Oracle Corporation, Symantec, and Verizon. Facebook supported the bill until very recently when they withdrew support to promote consumer privacy.
I find this bill to be offensive and very much so an invasion of individual privacy. I am supportive of Facebook withdrawing from the bill as I believe it is detrimental to the quality of privacy for American citizens, although I question Facebook’s motive for withdrawing as they did not withdraw until they went under the heat of a petition created to convince Mark Zuckerberg otherwise. I think it is very possible that Mark Zuckerberg may still support the petition, but is afraid to admit it due to consumer backlash and Facebook’s privacy issues in the past.
I think that if you look at the bill from a utilitarian point of view, it results in decreased happiness for all involved. Although some may argue that the decrease in cybercrime may increase happiness for all involved, I do not believe that the bill would be that effective in preventing or stopping crime and would mostly serve to annoy and scare many U.S. citizens. I believe the bill would be used to prosecute people committing less threatening cybercrimes (downloading illegal music, movies, etc.) much, much more than it would ever have the potential to stop greater cybercrimes (overseas hacking, child abduction, etc.).
I am interested to hear what the rest of you think about this. Also, If you do think this bill would be effective, I encourage you to convince me otherwise.