Tag Archives: Protect IP Act

Some Big Providers To Quietly Begin Monitoring Users

The people who want control over the Internet are nothing if not persistent. They are quite capable of learning from their mistakes, too. So it should perhaps come as no surprise that they have licked their wounds and regathered their forces after the resounding defeat of SOPA. They’ve come up with a new scheme to protect their precious copyrights; a kinder, gentler version of SOPA that, while it enables spying, supposedly has education more in mind than punishment. Continue reading

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CISPA: The Fight for Privacy Continues

The price of freedom, it is said, is eternal vigilance. That has been demonstrated once again in the ongoing legal struggle over privacy on the Internet. The celebration and congratulations among the people who united to defeat SOPA, the “Stop Online Piracy Act“, the last proposed draconian legislation aimed at protecting copyright and intellectual property, had not even ended before another such bill was proposed. This one is called CISPA, the “Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act“, which indicates it’s a somewhat different beast than SOPA, directed against hackers rather than file-sharers. (You can download a PDF of the actual bill, H.R. 3523, here.) It’s not quite SOPA risen like a zombie from the grave, but it is written in such ambiguous language that many privacy advocates consider it even more insidious and potentially harmful. CISPA, opponents claim, allow “cyber entities” such as ISPs, social networks, and cell phone and other service providers, to circumvent Internet privacy laws. It allows the government to monitor online communications if it suspects any kind of cybersecurity threat to be involved. And since the bill does not really define cybersecurity, that leaves the door wide open, allowing virtually anyone to be spied on for any reason. Not only the government is given this power. If a cyber entity thinks a threat is involved, it can take action. The only safeguard built in is that it cannot be done for “unfair competitive advantage”. All that’s … Continue reading

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ACTA: The Internet Fight Goes International

Internet activists who are celebrating the apparent defeat of the SOPA and PIPA bills have found their party already interrupted by the appearance, or rather, re-appearance of a piece of legislation that could have an even more significant effect: ACTA, the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. Whereas SOPA and PIPA were merely proposed US laws, ACTA is an international treaty, so its scope is much wider. It will become law for all signatory states and override any contrary provisions in US codes. On January 26, the European Union and 22 member states formally signed ACTA, and apparently it now goes before the European Parliament. Last, October, ACTA was signed by 10 nations, including the US which helped sponsor it. However, though the President signed it as an executive agreement, constitutionally the treaty must still be ratified by the US Senate. Mexico, Switzerland, Germany, the Netherlands, Estonia, Cyprus, and Slovakia are some of the most important nations that have still not signed on. There is a huge amount of suspicion across the Internet surrounding the treaty because it was negotiated in secrecy by industry and government trade representatives of some of the richest countries without any input from anyone else. In fact, time after time, parliaments and interest groups around the world were told they could not see it while it was being worked on. For a long time the only information about the provisions of the proposed treaty came through diplomatic cables … Continue reading

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