We interrupt Caturday for an important anti-CISPA announcement.

This blog is supposed to be about fun. Fun and cats. But this is important.

The interwebz are fun. It’s been quite the journey for me to come from playing Oregon Trail on an Apple II to being able to carry around a 5lb. machine with the ability to share my words with the world, connect with people, learn about new things, have a virtually endless supply of information, etc. I remember when we first got AOL and suffered through the dial-up modem sounds. I had a pager when I was a teenager, as by that time they were “cool” and not just for drug dealers. I got a cell phone when I was 18. I remember when texting started. Now I can do anything on my cell phone that I can do on my computer. I watched this all transform and evolve. And this is all in the matter of my relatively short lifetime.

I mean, I have millions of cat lolz at my fingertips! But hilarious cats aren’t all the internet is about. cispa cat

Despite the fact that we all (well, not all of us) willingly put out TONS of personal information for all to see, through blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc., things that are private deserve to be kept private.

I introduce you to CISPA:

H.R. 3523, the Cyber Intelligence sharing and Protection Act of 2011, along with a handful of other bills currently circulating congress, all seek to give the government the power to force ISPs and other information aggregator companies to share ALL of your personal information, internet usage, and other data with ANY government agency or PRIVATE ENTITY [read: corporation] who requests it. The only requirement is that it be done in the name of “Cybersecurity,” which is never well-defined.

The important part of this bill is that it’s entirely vague. It gives the government power to pretty much to whatever they want. Keep in mind, too, that this bill is written by a group of (mostly) older people with less understanding of technology. I’m not saying that everyone over the age of 50 is a moron when it comes to keeping up. But how many IT guys are senators? These are career politicians.

Fear shouldn’t paralyze us so much that we allow our freedoms to be raped. I read 1984 when I was younger. I think I was probably too young to really understand the implications of it, but I do now. I am, for the most part, a law abiding citizen (I say most part because I think I break a few driving). I don’t have anything to hide. But that doesn’t mean that my email and my search history should be readily tapped into with a vague semblance of cause. That sounds DANGEROUSLY close to “thoughtcrime” to me.

Hold onto your freedoms. We’ve earned them.

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11 comments

  1. Elephant

    A very thoughtful post! Glad you are thinking about this issue. But with all due respect please don’t be lulled into the notion that old guys are somehow benign technology challenged dim wits. Much of the technology we think of as new today is decades old with military applications. Doing the math, I would say that makes some of the elderly you think have no teeth the developers of new world technology and our old politician the proponents of its development. They knew exactly what they were doing by signing the bill! You don’t need to know how to fix a computer to understand how to make money and rule the world!

    Also, I think the “law abiding citizen with nothing to hide” response is a trap – if we have nothing to hide why should we give up our privacy?

    Glad you are presenting your ideas and are concerned for all of us!

    Thanks,
    Elephant

    • MEOWhearthis

      By no means did I intend to generalize that all older people fumble around like Grandpa on the Simpsons when it comes to technology. Yes, there is much that I don’t know about what the politicians know and don’t know. Perhaps I could have worded it better if I’d pointed out that they might be out of touch with the way that it’s used. For example, law enforcement agencies were unprepared for the explosion of tweets regarding the manhunt, both from people reporting in that area and from listening to police scanners. One can know about technology but be clueless on the full scope of its power. Mostly, though, I was referring to Rep. Mike Rogers who said CISPA’s opposition was a bunch of 14-year-olds tweeting from their basements. Of course there’s more to it than just one quote, but seeing as how he authored the bill, it should make everyone step back and wonder if the people in charge really know what they’re doing.

      I fully agree that we shouldn’t give up our privacy just because we have nothing to hide. We’re supposed to be the standard of freedom here. What kind of message does it send if we willfully give those up?

      Thanks for reading! We SHOULD all be concerned. Especially in the wake of tragedies. Hence the “Patriot” Act.

  2. Boomdeeadda

    Ok, I know that it’s a though provoking subject but that really made me laugh. I haven’t seen a pager for years. It seems crazy that politicians think they could make this law without people freaking out. Maybe they should tackle some more pressing topics.

    • MEOWhearthis

      Are you kidding? People are far more concerned with having their precious firearms taken away than with this. Honestly, it’s barely making the news. Depressing, huh?

      • Boomdeeadda

        I should reserve my opinions about firearms, it seems like a hot topic south of the border. We don’t really understand the resistance to making things safer. Usually gun violence in Canada involves two rival gangs, drugs and turf…they’re killing each other…c’est la vie.

      • MEOWhearthis

        I have very little opinion on them either way…I’m all for freedom and rights and all that but on the other hand, who needs an assault rifle to protect yourself? Frankly, I feel like I’d have much better luck with a baseball bat if someone broke into my house. My biggest reason for not having a gun? I’m pretty sure I would accidentally shoot myself with it somehow. I’m enough of a danger to myself without adding firepower.

      • Boomdeeadda

        Ha, I think we’d have that in common, I’m such a klutz. A friend just bought property in Arizona and tells of people riding down the street on motorbikes with long rifles in their holsters. That’d would un-nerve me.

      • MEOWhearthis

        Hah at least it’s in the open…this guy in a convertible cut me off, so I honked my horn at him. At the light, he got out, told me he would have his girlfriend beat me and my friend up, then got back in his car, pulled a gun out of his glove box and held it up for me to see. At least when they have ’em showing you know who to stay away from…

      • Boomdeeadda

        That’s so the type, threatening a chick because you’re such a man. What a loser. I see your point though. Note to self, “don’t mix it up on the road in America” keeping saluting finger in check…HA.

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