CISPA is SOPA 2.0: petition to stop it

CISPA, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act of 2011 (H.R. 3523), is a successor, of sorts, to the loathesome SOPA legislative proposal, which was shot down in flames earlier this year. EFF's chilling analysis of the bill shows how it could be used to give copyright enforcers carte blanche to spy on Internet users and censoring the Internet (it would also give these powers to companies and governments who'd been embarrassed by sites like Wikileaks).

Under the proposed legislation, a company that protects itself or other companies against “cybersecurity threats” can “use cybersecurity systems to identify and obtain cyber threat information to protect the rights and property” of the company under threat. But because “us[ing] cybersecurity systems” is incredibly vague, it could be interpreted to mean monitoring email, filtering content, or even blocking access to sites. A company acting on a “cybersecurity threat” would be able to bypass all existing laws, including laws prohibiting telcos from routinely monitoring communications, so long as it acted in “good faith.”

The broad language around what constitutes a cybersecurity threat leaves the door wide open for abuse. For example, the bill defines “cyber threat intelligence” and “cybersecurity purpose” to include “theft or misappropriation of private or government information, intellectual property, or personally identifiable information.”

Yes, intellectual property. It’s a little piece of SOPA wrapped up in a bill that’s supposedly designed to facilitate detection of and defense against cybersecurity threats. The language is so vague that an ISP could use it to monitor communications of subscribers for potential infringement of intellectual property. An ISP could even interpret this bill as allowing them to block accounts believed to be infringing, block access to websites like The Pirate Bay believed to carry infringing content, or take other measures provided they claimed it was motivated by cybersecurity concerns.

There's a DemandProgress petition against CISPA (DemandProgress was one of the leaders of the SOPA fight).


  1. Darrell Issa is listed as a co-sponsor, which is curious given that he was one of the more vocal opponents of SOPA. 

  2. I’ve read the bills proposed as part of CISPA.  Yes they are bad bills.  They DO NOT contain any provisions related to censorship or disruption of essential internet infrastructure such as DNS.  So comparing this bill to SOPA is akin to comparing the bill to Hitler.  It’s juvenile and just plain wrong.  Please do not be a part of the problem boing boing.

    1.  The critical issue here is not the letter of the law; it is the spirit in which the law will be used.

    2. Strongly agree. CISPA has absolutely nothing to do with SOPA. CISPA is about enabling the government to cooperate with private companies to detect and stop “hacking” activity from foreign states.

      Does the EFF seriously construe the use of IPS systems by private companies to detect and block exploits and malware command and control as “censorship?” Does the EFF think that private companies should not be allowed to use anti-virus software because it inspects the content of private documents on employees hard drives looking for tools that could be used to steal intellectual property? That’s totally ridiculous.

      If the EFF wanted to do something constructive here they might consider suggesting alternative language that would prevent the scenarios they are concerned with, but by equating every bill they don’t like with SOPA they are discrediting themselves and they are playing right into the hands of those who have accused SOPA opponents of spreading disinformation.

      This is not useful.

    3. “So comparing this bill to SOPA is akin to comparing the bill to Hitler.”

      Do you have any other hamfistedly terrible analogies to throw at us?

      1.  It’s not very hamfisted.  The analog is a reference to the well known “godwin’s law”.  AKA comparing something to hitler because it’s generically bad is an instant loss of an argument.  By comparing this bill to SOPA a bill it shares almost nothing in common with but is generically ‘bad’, there is a direct analogy to godwin’s law. 

        In short, the argument posed against CISPA ( here )  is lost almost immediately since a straw man propisition of :

        if (sopa == bad) { cispa = bad }

        is abjectly false.  it is a fallacy.

        Thus the poster has immediately debased themselves and provided ammunition for anyone supporting CISPA to provide an ad hominem attack against them.  And with that the entire attempt at discourse falls apart and petty name calling ensues.

        Yay Internet.

        Seriously why we don’t teach kids who to put together an argument in school is beyond me.  Too many people these days are abjectly incapable of expressing themselves with even a parody of logical constraints.

  3. the bill defines “cyber threat intelligence” and “cybersecurity purpose” to include “theft or misappropriation of private or government information, intellectual property, or personally identifiable information.” 

    That’s rich, because a company acting on this bill will invariably “misappropriate” even more “personally identifiable information” in the process.  It’s an avalanche of surveillance by design.

  4. What’s even worse is that they’re going to keep trying to introduce this kind of legislation.  It may be time for a ‘Maker Party’ or ‘Pirate Party’ group to begin lobbying or getting on ballots for election. Clearly Republicans and Democrats don’t care about their constituents. 

  5. These motherfuckers absolutely will not stop, will they ?

    The only real solution, outside of publicly castrating a few of the legislators and industry scum who are backing these bills as a demonstration of how the electorate feels about their efforts on behalf of these “laws”, is to absolutely never elect anybody who would advance a bill like this, or any of it’s reincarnations.
    And since that’s an undeterminable, then I say it’s time we raise the black flag (and a few congresspeople and their sponsors by their ankles), and just do the fucking job already.

    Actually, come to think of it, there is a less violent way. Simply hack the computers of the legislators and industry scum proposing these bills, and then smear their porn collections, perversions and personal kinky habits all over the internet, with the disclaimer “THIS is why they REALLY want to control the internet. So that they can do this, and you can’t”.
    After that, they’ll need a Supreme Court decision to get into any office higher than dog catcher.

    1. How am I the leper?  This is /b/ man.  Straight /b/.   Rydia summons Antinous!!!!!!!

  6. An ISP may PRESENTLY monitor communications of subscribers for potential infringement of intellectual property.  Otherwise 512 is nonsense.  I’m not commenting on the merits of this bill either way, because I know so little about it now.  But spinning ISPs as ‘against piracy’ is a weird tact.  Major ‘backbone’ ISPs act as anti-plaintiff amicii in infringement suits more often than the Electronic Frontier Foundation, even.  I can’t say for certain, but I imagine, if my lowest-tier Internet is more than sufficient for Netflix and gaming, then any non-corporate customer who takes advantage of the higher tiers is using them for downloading/uploading. And that means more money for an ISP.  

    Please don’t let that be a distracting point, though.  The point is – ISPs (at least the big ones) profit from infringement.  You don’t need to believe my half-baked tier argument.  Just look at their extensive amicus participation in infringement suits, their resistance to extrajudicial discovery (e.g., RIAA v. Verizon), or their shareholder-terrifying (I imagine) safe-harbor-envelope-pushing.  For example:  How many DMCA notices, exactly does it take before you’re no longer harbored?  Mr. Owl knows.  Flava Works v. Gunter, I believe, is resolving that question for that corner of the country.  UNLIKE a half-drafted bill that MIGHT give the ISPs the power to be dicks, this will have direct implications for the role of ISPs and streaming sites under 512.  The whole world should stay rapt.  To both issues.  But I’m amazed that while that appeal is pending, we’re focused on whether or not some bill might – ad absurdum – give ISPs the ability to independently police piracy.  When clearly they have no intention to.  Albeit, this is a very small part of Cory’s gripe with the bill.  But it’s unnecessary rhetoric.   Not every big corporate interest is a pirate hunter.  You think the cigarette and alcohol industries had zero say in proposition 19?  Online infringement has a powerful silent partner, called ‘the guys who give most people Internet access.’  SOPA v.2.0 was not designed for the benefit of ISPs.  Sure, tangentially, the ISPs can be forced to reveal customer information by a court.  But that doesn’t mean they want to.  You’re making a sheep in wolf’s clothing.  
    Thank you Antinous, for letting me respond to this stuff – I know my opinion is probably unpopular here, but BB has always been the bees knees about hearing both sides, and you’ve always been fair to me here – even when I’m being a jerk.  It’s all us fanboys can do to get Cory’s attention.   Seriously, as the only one who HAS read this far, Antinous, you’re the balls at what you do.  

  7. If anyone feels tired from these fights and thinks that evil will never give up, just remember that good never gives up either.  To give in to the lie that this is a hopeless struggle is to hand victory over to the corporations that want to rule us like dictators.

  8. They are NEVER going to stop trying to get this shit passed.  They will succeed, eventually.  Probably not all at once, but bit by bit the provisions will sneak into law, either buried as an unread footnote to some other omnibus bill, or as part as a ‘compromise’ which will be decried as insufficient before the ink is dry, necessitating a new tougher bill.

    The internet as we knew it, as a wild west frontier of unregulated, uncensored freedom is a dead man walking.  The future is centrally-planned innovation, news filtered by experts in what ‘really matters’ and bland user content pre-approved by Legal and Marketing.

    Sooner or later, they are going to win.  Accept this as a fact.

    Forget the internet, stop trying to save it, you’re wasting your time.  Start thinking about the next step, and devote your energies to that.  Darknet projects, wireless mesh nodes, universally encrypted data transfers, that sort of jazz.

    My regret is that I’m a rank amateur at computer networking.  On the other hand, I’d gladly do my part by funding and maintaining several nodes or servers in such a theoretical replacement.

    1. So… you’re a rank amateur at computer networking, and yet you can make authoritative doom-and-gloom predictions about the fate of the internet? Ha.

      Two of your suggestions for “alternatives” to the net — darknet projects and universally encrypted data transfers — *are* the net, or parts of it. They ride on it. And yet they still stand to undermine the big-corporate / surveillance-state vision of the net.

      The free flow of information at present enables people to organise & inform themselves, acquire software, etc as necessary to keep the information flowing freely into the future. “The internet interprets censorship as damage and routes around it.” That’s not gonna change, no matter what legislation luddites may pass.

    2. It’s an election year.  Let’s keep that in mind.  Right now they’re probably thinking about all the money they can get for campaigning from the music and movie industries.  Later, they’ll be thinking about our votes.

      Let’s remind them about our votes now.

  9.  Having read most part of CISPA I think the bill is really vague and the possibility of abusing that bill is most likely become habitual by other.

  10. This is how it happened: we willingly gave up our civil liberties after 9/11, throwing ourselves at the feet of Bush and Congress any time the words “terror” or “security” were mentioned, now the momentum of the precedent is flying back in our face and we’re caught with our pants down.

  11. “There’s a dark side to American populism.”  Game change, citing McCain.  

    To my knowledge, no person associated with this site, or even any major participant in team copyleft has ever advocated violence.  But there it is, the violent rhetoric (Snagglepuss, et al).  Or maybe the bomb threats on law firms from the early UK copyright troll days.  Mosey on over to torrentfreak.  Count the death threats.  Like it or not, you’ve coopted this argument’s tea party equivalent.  They’re your problem now.  

  12. More crap from our elected officials from all political aspects censoring contents that provide knowledge,information,ideas,innovations.these elected Representatives and Senators are simply traitors….sell-outs….they get money and funding for doing this. Most of them are mostly Nazis…not kidding suppressing speech…..they just go in through the political system…no need for war anymore…just destroy this Nation within with bills,laws,etc.

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