CISPA: SOPA in a Trojan Horse

Changing a couple of letters isn’t fooling anybody; CISPA is SOPA hidden in a Trojan Horse. If this sounds familiar, think SOPA and PIPA.

CISPA is the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act a bill that already has a reasonably strong following with the help of its creator Rep. Mike Rogers, who has stirred support from many lobby-backing mega-corporations like AT&T, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Oracle, Verizon — and even Facebook. Rogers is also actively trying to encourage the tech-journalism community to report that CISPA is nothing like SOPA. Ya — because that’ll happen.

Now would be a good time to launch into competitive argument with a bulleted-list comparison of the two bills. Unfortunately the strongest commonality between the two agreements is their incredible vagueness. Like SOPA, nobody is exactly sure what CISPA will empower people to do, only that, like SOPA, it removes legal barriers to internet privacy. These barriers currently keep companies like AT&T, Facebook and Microsoft from handing over your sensitive online data to governments upon behest.

On the surface the two bills differ, SOPA (and PIPA) was about intellectual property, whereas CISPA is about internet security. CISPA allows differing bodies like the government, private corporations and security companies to share information in an attempt to arrest cyber security threats. The only problem is that deep down, especially with the obscure wording, they both give the powers that be the same abilities. Through CISPA the government could still take extreme measures against whistleblower websites like WikiLeaks, a sharing websites like The Pirate Bay — all the things that SOPA was designed for. The difference being that it would be under a banner of ‘security’, not ‘anti-internet piracy’.

CISPA has simply lumped intellectual property into “cybersecurity” — a term never actually defined in the legislation. A ‘cybersecurity threat’ however was loosely defined as “(A) efforts to degrade, disrupt, or destroy such system or network; or ‘(B) theft or misappropriation of private or government information, intellectual property, or personally identifiable information.”

If you doubt that the bill’s creator, Rogers, has anything but a benevolent security agenda then look at his call for the public lynching of Bradley Manning, the man considered responsible for leaking much government data to WikiLeaks. He literally wants him executed. And now, coincidentally he is leading an ‘unrelated’ bill that could get the private internet data needed to do just that to men like Manning.

Nope, CISPA is no more than SOPA dressed up in a three-piece Armani suit. It might look respectable but under the surface its like most things in three-piece Armani suits—benefiting but a small percentage of the population and supported by legal jargon.