Meet the New Threat: Same as the Old Threat

Here I am to spread the news about another stupid bit of policy that’s coming our way. I feel like this has become a giant game of internet tennis, whereby a bunch of people try to catch us out with a new law banning the internet or making it less safe in one way or another, and we scramble to knock it back.

Well now we have CISPA. I’m not going to claim to be able to summarise it in great detail – I honestly barely understand how it would be implemented. All I know is “Homeland Security”, “my personal information” and “handed over”. So I’m instead going to recommend you arm yourselves by reading San Francisco-based blogger Violet Blue’s critique here, and what the US based EFF have to say about this bill being proposed in the US Senate.

A few quotes from the Violet Blue article:

“The bill’s sponsor, Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI), is also trying to get tech press to tell you to think that his bill CISPA is ‘nothing like SOPA.’

Don’t believe it.

CISPA’s primary function is to remove legal barriers that might keep Internet companies from giving all your communication and information to the government. It allows “cyber entities” (such as Internet service providers, social networks like Facebook and cell phone companies like AT&T) to circumvent Internet privacy laws when they’re pressured by Homeland Security to hand over or shut down — well, almost anything of yours online that the government wants, no warrant needed.”

“CISPA was drafted just after Rogers said an execution should be considered for Manning. The bill has been in revisions for nearly one and a half years now.”

At least Zuckerberg made them pay for the information...

And do you know what this, what ALL of this dealio with SOPA, PIPA, CISPA, and whatever else has shown me? It’s that I hate that I have to keep abreast of news of plans in America to curtail the internet freedoms of the American people because the sloppy way that they’re phrased and the stupidity of my country’s extradition law means that their laws will inevitably spill over to me.

I hate that I have to support other people’s rights because the short sightedness of some people makes them my rights also. I’d love to be able to complain that internet laws in America are horrible and totalitarian for the people that live there. But I can’t; instead I have to complain that the totalitarian and squashing laws over there are coming to squash me.

So here is my open letter to anyone as wants to read it. It is addressed to anyone involved with pushing this Bill. It goes a little something like this.


Dear US Government,

Thanks for SOPA and PIPA. (No worries about ACTA – that’s our own business.) I’m glad to see that you’re taking the very serious threats of the slightly dwindling bank accounts of big businesses and the existence of naked people on the internet very seriously. Those two things are obviously bringing us into a new dark age, rather than unwise fiscal decisions and increasing religious fundamentalism and homophobia.

But I do have one request, on behalf of everyone outside of the US who owns a computer. If you want to snoop on your own people, that’s fine. (Well, actually it isn’t, but let me stay on topic.) You want to act like Big Brother – which is, I proudly add, a distinctly English kind of fascist state – then do it.

But do it in a way which isolates it to your own country, thanks. We don’t want our internet being ruined just because you hate the internet and the people who use it most – i.e. young and not particularly rich people. We’ve got enough crazies and internet luddites in our own respective countries that we don’t want to deal with yours. So please choose your words and laws more carefully.


Yours faithfully,

Every other internet using country, state and continent.


And while we’re at it, here’s a Material World episode featuring how our own (UK) government is trying to infringe our rights. If you really must know, the stuff about the logistics of spying on our emails is the first thing on the show. Listen to it all, though, if you can.

Gonna listen to this now:


Posted on April 25, 2012, in GLOOP, Politics, Right Wing Nutters in America, Stuff I found somwhere on an Internet. and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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