Back in March, I posted a detailed post about PICP/SOPA and Lamar following a massive outcry of netizens across the world. At first, it would have appeared that boycott lead by Google, Reddit, and Wikipedia was successful. However, the ruling party simply does not seem to want to give up. Don't worry though, we're not alone. Some other countries have similar laws on the table; among them are the obvious choices (Korea, Iran, etc). However, what may surprise you also The United Kingdom.
" The British government is about to unveil proposals to block the Internet for copyright enforcement purposes. The confirmation came in a Parliamentary debate yesterday on Intellectual Property, in which pro-copyright MPs had a little ‘chit-chat’ about the allegedly ‘anti-copyright’ government, and indicated their desire for the activation of the Digital Economy Act"
It's obvious that cybersecurity is a hot topic throughout the world right now, and for good reason. Cyber crime and warfare is a booming industry, and Washington knows this. On any given day, there are several bills that are making their way through the system that don't really deserve a whole lot of attention from the every day netizen. There is one new bill, Cyber Intelligence and Sharing Protection Act (CISPA), which deserves special attention. The bill can be read in full here, but there is an excerpt below which identifies the crux of the issue:
- Defines "cyber threat intelligence" as information in the possession of an element of the intelligence community directly pertaining to a vulnerability of, or threat to, a system or network of a government or private entity, including information pertaining to the protection of a system or network from:
(1) efforts to degrade, disrupt, or destroy such system or network; or
(2) theft or misappropriation of private or government information, intellectual property, or personally identifiable information.
The wording of the bill is far too vague and could allow any number of honest netizens to become cyber criminals. This is especially troubling when the government could require ISPs and others to provide information on Internet users without restriction. No warrant, no probable cause, would be necessary, as long as the action is taken in the name of “cyber security. Some critics call the bill draconian in nature, but I'm not sure one can accidentally draconian. To be draconian, I think one has to understand what it is that they're regulating.
Fast forward to 3:53, and listen to one of our presidential candidates drone on about the internet. It's pretty clear that Republican Rick Santorum has no idea what really goes on the internet. "The internet is not a free zone where anyone can do anything they want to do and trample the rights of other people. The idea that anything goes on the internet, where did that come from?" Are you serious? What's next, a bill that makes it a crime to rick roll an online community? The internet is simply a medium that individuals use to meet other people and exchange data; fundamentally, it is no different than a city park. The difference is that you don't have to wear a baseball cap and sunglasses to commit your crimes, you use proxy servers instead.
Law enforcement officials have plenty of tools to defeat baseball caps and sunglasses, and they are developing the tools they need to combat cyber crime. The problem lies in education [of law enforcement officers], not regulation.
Gratefully, we are not without hope. The social media arena is starting to become abuzz with the news that there is a new bill in Congress. More importantly, there are already several petitions floating around to stop it. Do your part, save the internet.