The latest US online privacy bill


CISPAThe U.S. House is at it again. When SOPA and PIPA failed did they give up? No, they simply created a new bill that many consider to be even worse and certainly goes way beyond any data privacy boundaries than any bill before it, excluding the Patriot Act…

To be clear, before you read on, I’m against any law that strips users of their privacy online and any law that goes against the fundamental DNA of the Internet, the freedom of speech. I won’t argue though that there doesn’t exist a need to protect some government data online but passing law that not only affects the privacy of U.S. citizens and companies but affects the whole Internet is something that I and GreenQloud will always oppose. Fortunately SOPA, PIPA, CISPA and any other U.S. bill don’t apply to GreenQloud since we are incorporated in Iceland, where our data centers are, and Iceland is fast becoming a safe haven for data and online privacy (See the IMMI but more on that later…).

So what is CISPA?

CISPA is short for the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, introduced by U.S. Representative Michael Rogers (R-MI). Its said purpose is to protect America’s internet interests against cyber attacks. It’s technically an amendment to the National Security Act of 1947 but is extremely vague in its boundaries and objectives.

The premise of this bill sounds fair, to protect the U.S. against cyber attacks. But as many have pointed out it goes way beyond that premise and is ripe for misuse just as the Patriot Act has been. The infographic at the end of this article summarizes a lot of the issues but here are my major concerns.

Three major issues with CISPA

There are a number of gaping “flaws” in CISPA. First of all CISPA’s purpose is to protect the U.S. from cyberattacks which often are in essence the stealing of private data. Ironically CISPA could be described as the master key for government sponsored cyberattacks.  It will allow every federal agency to override any (U.S.) existing online privacy laws to access user information and to do whatever with that data including sharing it with whomever they see fit.

What the bill also does is allow private companies the right to share user information and data that isn’t really their property (like everything about you) with the federal government. Companies like Facebook and Microsoft have already said they will do that by supporting the bill.

And lastly the marketing engine behind the bill is saying unlike SOPA the bill does not include the right to block websites. However the federal government is already seizing and shutting down U.S. websites and could in fact use CISPA to take any private information in the name of cybersecurity and use the same excuse to seize websites, effectively shutting them down.

There is hope

Fortunately there is still hope that the bill will be stopped just like SOPA and PIPA. The strongest opponent being the White House (quote):

“Cybersecurity and privacy are not mutually exclusive. Moreover, information sharing, while an essential component of comprehensive legislation, is not alone enough to protect the Nation’s core critical infrastructure from cyber threats. Accordingly, the Administration strongly opposes H.R. 3523, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, in its current form.”

CISPA looks like an extension of the Patriot Act but hopefully CISPA will be stopped and that will be the end of the U.S. government’s failed attempts to control the Internet and online privacy. In the meantime and in the future your data is safe and private in Iceland with GreenQloud. Please leave your comments below!

– Eirikur Hrafnsson, Co-Founder GreenQloud


CISPA Infographic by Lumin Consulting

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