CISPA in your casa: Federal snoopervision without search warrants?

Photo courtesy of eurleif, flickr

Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) has shepherded CISPA, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, through the U.S. House. That’s good for the federal government, and bad for Americans.

According to the tech site CNET, the measure “would usher in a new era of information sharing between companies and government agencies — with limited oversight and privacy safeguards.” Privacy and civil liberties groups beg to differ.

While CISPA doesn’t require tech companies to snitch on their customers, it’s so loosely written that even the Congressional Research Service warns that it could have unintended consequences, and serve as a model for other legislation.

PC World magazine points out one benefit of the law: “CISPA allows the government to share classified information about security threats with select American companies.” But it also opens the door for more snoopervision, fed style. The conservative Heritage Foundationcalls it a “sensible” measure, but the libertarian Cato Institute calls for a less sweeping measure that would “look very different from CISPA.” Click through to the CNET article to get to links to comments from other groups.

Don’t expect your telephone, cable, or Internet company to put up much of a fight. They’re in the business to make money, not statements in defense of personal freedoms. Plus, they know that the feds can shut them down, or at least make life miserable, if they fight.

(John R. La Plante is an adjunct scholar for the Mackinac Center for Public Policy and an education policy fellow with the Flint Hills Center for Public Policy in Wichita, Kansas. Originally posted on the Michigan View.)