April 26, 2012, Fairfax, VA—Americans for Limited Government President Bill Wilson issued the following statement on the withdrawal of an amendment offered by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee to the "Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act" (CISPA) that would have authorized the Secretary of Homeland Security "to acquire, intercept, retain, use, and disclose communications and other system traffic that are transiting to or from or stored on Federal systems:"
"It is a good day for liberty when an Orwellian amendment so horrific that it would have authorized the Secretary of Homeland Security, a political appointee, to monitor the nation's entire digital infrastructure and in the process, spy on Americans, was withdrawn from consideration. This police state on steroids amendment by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee was a thuggish thrust at authoritarian control on all Americans.
It is likely the amendment was about to go down to a spectacular bipartisan defeat. And deservedly so.
"However, major problems remain with the legislation. Much of the debate surrounding CISPA has focused on provisions creating a right of service providers to decide whether or not they wish to share user data with the government. In the process, everyone has been pretending or assuming that the government is not already collecting and storing this data through various intelligence agencies, including the National Security Agency.
"Recent disclosures by former NSA official William Binney on Democracy Now challenges that assumption in an alarming fashion. By Binney's account, not only has the government been gathering intelligence domestically on U.S. citizens for some years now by monitoring the entire network, but that it has already developed a vast database of most every electronic communication in the world. CISPA does not address these concerns at all.
"If Congress wishes to truly address intelligence 'sharing' with the government by communications companies, it must first outlaw these existing NSA and other surveillance programs and order the destruction of the data already in the government's possession. Then it might have more teeth, and the American people could have certainty their sensitive private data is actually secure.
"But pretending that this pointless debate now taking place in Congress will have any effect on whether data on everybody will continue to be collected by the government is not the solution. It only creates a false veneer of privacy."
"Cyber intelligence sharing vote raises broader constitutional questions," ALG President Bill Wilson, April 25, 2012 at http://netrightdaily.com/2012/04/cyber-intelligence-sharing-vote-raises-broader-constitutional-questions-2/
Americans for Limited Government is a non-partisan, nationwide network committed to advancing free market reforms, private property rights and core American liberties. For more information on ALG please call us at 703-383-0880 or visit our website at www.GetLiberty.org.