CISPA Threatens Online Freedom

Media organizations have been in an uproar over the newly proposed Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) put forth by the House of Representatives. The proposal, named H.R. 3523 and intended to protect individuals from cyberattacks, falls victim to the same mistakes that critics mentioned were evident in SOPA/PIPA. According to RT, the act, if passed, would grant permission to the US government to monitor any online communications if it has good reason to suspect cyber crime. What the Raw Story has called the "sequel to SOPA" would "empower the NSA to spy on the whole world in search of individuals engaging in distribution of protected media, like Internet streams of television channels or peer-to-peer networks sharing multimedia files." Not only that, "CISPA could even see the NSA wiretapping publications like The New York Times, The Guardian and Wikileaks in the likely event that they obtain classified, secret or otherwise inconvenient information on governments or corporations."

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is a prominent critic of CISPA. "[The bill] effectively creates a ‘cybersecurity'’ exemption to all existing laws. There are almost no restrictions on what can be collected and how it can be used, provided a company can claim it was motivated by ‘cybersecurity purposes'.”

This new bill coincides with Spain's recent passage of a SOPA-like bill. Since the adoption of a new online copyright law, Spain's copyright commission has received over 300 complaints. Torrentfreak has confirmed that it has received takedown notices from the country. Although SOPA and PIPA lost steam earlier this year due to its censorship potential, these new legislative measures have people worried that Congressional attempts to regulate content may still be extending too far.