interweb freedom

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Posts Tagged ‘CISPA’

CISPA is still BAD

Posted by Laurel L. Russwurm on April 27, 2013

The American Senate has refused to pass CISPA, so the initial feeling was that CISPA was dead. As a veteran of the copyright wars in Canada, I feared that the celebrations may yet be premature.

Today my favorite Search engine, DuckDuckGo, is sporting sunglasses in the lee of CCTV cameras. If you click on the Duck, it takes you to The DuckDuckGo duck wears sunglasses while being watched by CCTV cameras

DuckDuckGo’s “STOP CISPA” letter

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ACTA remix: What is the Trans Pacific Partnership ?

Posted by Laurel L. Russwurm on August 23, 2012

ACTA logo

I’ve fought against ACTA for a long time in this very blog.

Often it seemed futile, as much as anything because no one outside a very small group of people even knew it was happening.

The secrecy was such that Canada’s elected representatives — our Members of Parliament — were not allowed to know anything about what was being negotiated. It was most certainly a very secret treaty. An indication of how abysmal ACTA was is that even under the threat of draconian penalties, the various drafts were too scary not to leak — all the way through the process.

In the Polish Parliament members of the libertarian ‘Ruch Palikota’ donning Guy Fawkes masks

With source material in hand, legal scholars like Michael Geist were able to study various ACTA drafts, and explain the legal language online so that people could understand the ramifications of this treaty that would change our lives. Concerned citizens formed organizations like the excellent La Quadrature du Net which served as a European clearing house for ACTA news. There was an Identica group where I learned about the latest ACTA news and I posted whatever I found there. Like many other ordinary people, I talked to people in my real life as well as sharing ACTA drafts and information on websites and blogs.

And so, over time, many of the worst bits were cut out of ACTA in the face of the negative opinion and outcry. Even so, after the last negotiation, there remained a few irreconcilable differences, and so it went unsigned.

Reasonable people might expect that to have been the end of it, but some months later, after what had to be a good deal of truly secret negotiations, some countries — including Canada — quietly signed the ACTA agreement. But it wasn’t over yet, it still required Europe.

Fortunately for the rest of the world, the European Union did not follow suit. Unlike North America — where most politicians had been kept entirely in the dark with the secrecy provisions in the heavy duty non-disclosure agreement — some EU politicans had been paying attention to ACTA, and enough awareness had been raised to generate an amazing outcry led by Poland.

“A demonstration was to be held there against a secret attempt to sign the ‘ACTA treaty’ by the Polish government, ostensibly to prevent piracy on the web, but in reality, to enable the introduction of the kind of censorship we had in the communist era, and now have in China, (the reading of private e-mails, the tracking of correspondence, the registration of visited web pages visited and network surveillance). Whilst these earlier forms of censorship were designed to perpetuate Communist ideology, those that ACTA would impose have been designed in the U.S. to allow the gradual takeover of states and governments by global corporations.”

— Paweł Łyszczyk, Szczecinian: Opinion: ‘Szczecin says ‘No’ to ACTA’

And amazingly, all the information sharing and Anti-Acta hullabaloo ultimately led the European Union to decline ACTA. Again, this should have been the end of the story, except that the special interests behind these oppressive laws are not about to give up so easily.

What makes the onslaught even worse is that many people are complacent, believing that ACTA—like the US SOPA— has been defeated.

But SOPA was remixed into CISPA and speedily passed into American law. And now, much of the ACTA language is coming back into the shape of other trade agreements, like CETA and the TPP.

The Ghost of ACTA?

Screen Shot : @laurelrusswurm  @majoleink Much ACTA language is being reused - parcelled out in other agreements... look at CETA, TPP

When I said that on the other day I was surprised to be challenged by a Twitter user called @ACTAwebcare:

@ACTAwebcare said:  @laurelrusswurm It's not true. Can you please remove this tweet?

Although I knew it was true, @ACTAwebcare may well have gone to Twitter with a complaint against me to get the Tweet removed. Since I always feel the best way to counter misinformation is with the truth, I responded with some back-up links, quoting reputable sources like:

TechDirt: Son Of ACTA (But Worse): Meet TPP, The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement

Michael Geist: U.S. Intellectual Property Demands for TPP Leak: Everything it Wanted in ACTA But Didn’t Get

But the best was this line by line comparison of ACTA and TPP language done by TPP vs. ACTA – Line by Line

Setting up a Twitter account in an attempt to rehabilitate ACTA (and spread misinformation about it) is quite telling. Although ACTA may be officially gone, it is anything but forgotten. And we need to understand and fight  the dangers of its new incarnations.

The EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) has created the following Infographic to explain just what is wrong with the TPP.  It’s from an American perspective, but the consequences will be just as dire for the rest of the world.   Canada is clamoring to jump on this bandwagon, so we Canadians can write letters to our MPs too.

EFF infographic

In conclusion, I’d like to leave you with Member of European Parliament Marietje Schaake’s final words on ACTA

What is the Trans Pacific Partnership Infographic by Electronic Frontier Foundation and Lumin Consulting released under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 United States (CC BY 3.0) license

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Meet CISPA, Son of SOPA

Posted by Laurel L. Russwurm on April 17, 2012

The EU is fighting the secret ACTA trade agreement, while India seeks to pass an Internet Censorship law. Surprised?

SOPA isn’t dead, just redesigned. Meet CISPA, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, which picks up where SOPA left off. Similar legislation is being rushed into law by countries all over the world, including Canada, Belarus. have produced an infographic which explains CISPA:

It doesn’t matter who you are or where you are: you need to tell your government “No.”

As this infographic points out, when corporate interests diverge from citizen interests, we’re on our own. We have some great online resources, and many outspoken Internet freedom fighters, but we can no longer expect right to triumph just because its right. Because the other side can afford to hire lobbyists.

If we want right to triumph we have to speak up for it.

Make a phone call, send a letter or an email.

Alt Text for the InfoGraphic:


While protesters were occupied with SOPA, a new cybersecurity bill snuck its way into congressional consideration. Introducing CISPA: What it is, where it came from, and why it makes SOPA look like amateur hour.



CISPA = Cyber Intelligence Sharing & Protection Act

It allows both private businesses and the government to share information about cyberthreats.

That doesn’t sound so bad.

But what’s a cyberthreat?

According to CISPA:

Cyberthreats are supposed to be anything making “efforts to degrade, disrupt or destroy” vital nerworks.

Or anything that makes a “threat or misappropriation” of information owned by the government or private businesses.


While SOPA put companies at risk for subscriber activity, CISPA rewards companies for:

  • collecting data,
  • intercepting or modifying communications,
  • providing the government with information.

And unlike SOPA, CISPA doesn’t threaten the business interests of web companies.

So we shouldn’t expect their help in fighting the bill.

In fact, companies already supporting CISPA include:

  • AT&T
  • Verizon
  • Facebook,
  • Microsoft,
  • IBM,
  • Intel

and over 25 other organizations, all of which play a role in how you communicate.


Then you should also know that:

Information collected from you is “proprietary,”
meaning you don’t have the right to know what’s being gathered.

Under CISPA, companies can also share your

  • Names,
  • Addresses,
  • Phone Numbers

from the data they give to the government.


But it’s just now beginning to appear on the public radar.

If you share any information that the government or corporations find “inconvenient,” you could soon be labelled as a security threat, making your web activity subject to constant surveillance.

This work is under a Creative Commons License
Creative Commons Attribution Noncommercial No Derivatives

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