Monday, April 23, 2012

A Horrific Law, Continued.

"Although the ASC began as an anti-labor operation with support from Sears, and other businesses, it soon became involved in foreign policy issues. It co-sponsored a series of annual meetings from 1955 to 1961 called National Military-Industrial Conferences in which elements of the Pentagon, National Security Council, and organizations linked to the CIA discussed cold war strategy with leaders of many large corporations, such as United Fruit, Standard Oil, Honeywell, U.S. Steel, and of course, Sears Roebuck. "

The significance is that - for the first time - the Corporatocracy  expanded its influence, now absorbing intelligence and military interests, as well as banking and government. This was, in fact, the embryonic form of the current Corporatocracy - which differs only in the degree of  interconnections, as well as concentration of wealth and resources -including human resources.

This early surveillance system was based on PRIZM (Potential Rating Index for Zip Markets). This database, fueled by input from the Postal Service (Zip Codes) as well as the Census Bureau was able to keep statistics on all Americans. PRIZM used both postal zip codes and decennial Census Bureau data - enabling info-seekers to get and maintain an instantaneous 'profile' on anyone, including - but not limited to: consumer quirks, buying habits, debts -credit owed, creditworthiness, library book rental habits, neighborhood, income or family income, car make & registration, and so on.

How does CISPA differ?

1. CISPA would allow companies to share potentially sensitive customer data with each other in ways that would otherwise be inconsistent with current laws that protect consumer privacy, such as the Electronic Communications Privacy Act (ECPA). As the ACLU notes, “Health records, gun records, tax records, census data, educational records – essentially all information now protected under privacy laws carefully considered and passed by Congress over the past decades –would no longer have that protection as cybersecurity information if these bills are to become law.”

2. CISPA would also allow the government to require companies to share customer data without the warrant or subpoena that would be required under current law. The privacy rights of customers may be violated, in other words, without substantial evidence that they pose any kind of security threat.

3. CISPA would also pre-empt state laws that provide more privacy protection than the federal standard. Citizens in some states would face diminished privacy rights both now and in the future.

4. Companies would be broadly immunized from both criminal and civil liability for sharing personal data under CISPA. This is important, because the threat of lawsuits is crucial to ensuring that companies respect the privacy of their customers. Under CIPSA, conversely, corporations would have little incentive to err on the side of protecting privacy and would not face legal sanctions for even wholly unjustified invasions of privacy.

5. . Private companies would not be required to remove identifying information from data they share with the government. Private information could be shared not only with civilian but with military authorities. Given the deference that courts generally show to invocations of national security interests by entities associated with the military, this makes the risks of privacy invasions even more severe. (And it is feasible that in conjunction with the outlandish provisions of the National Defense and Authorization Act, an innocent person whose privacy has been rent asunder could find themselves in front of a Military Tribunal)
6.The only restriction on the sharing of data is that it be related to “cybersecurity.” The bill makes no serious attempt to specifically define what would qualify, and hence this limitation will do very little to limit privacy violations in practice. As the Electronic Freedom Foundation correctly points out, the bill would apply to “far more than what security experts would reasonably consider to be cybersecurity threat indicators.
7. Not only does the language of the bill not provide enough protection before the fact, but it also does too little to protect individual privacy after information is first shared with the government. As Sharon Bradford Franklin explains, “CISPA lacks any meaningful limitations on the ways in which the federal government may use personal information and the content of private communications that it receives from private companies.”

This is an egregious law that needs to be slain where it stands, but we can't entirely put any faith in congress critters, most of whom were bought out long ago. We must hope that if this piece of offal reaches Obama's desk he vetoes it forthwith. The consequences of not doing so are too horrific to contemplate.

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