Activist decries CISPA as ‘a Patriot Act for the Internet’

By Muriel Kane
Sunday, April 29, 2012 18:10 EDT
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Aaron Swartz on RT screencap
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According to Internet activist Aaron Swartz, the proposed Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), which passed the House of Representatives this week, is even worse than the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) that was sidelined by a public outcry last winter.

Swartz told Russia Today that whereas SOPA was exclusively “about giving the government the power to censor the Internet,” CISPA has the same kind of censorship provisions but “is more like a Patriot Act for the Internet.”

“It sort of lets the government run roughshod over privacy protections and share personal data about you,” he explained, “take it from Facebook and Internet providers and use it without the normal privacy protections that are in the law. … It’s an incredibly broad and dangerous bill.”

“The thing about this bill is it doesn’t really have any protections against cyber threats,” Swartz added. “All it does is make people share their information. But that’s not going to solve the problem. What’s going to solve the problem is actual security measures, protecting the service in the first place, not spying on people after the fact.”

Swartz is a well-known programmer and blogger, as well as an activist with a particular interest in open information. He was investigated by the FBI in 2009 after he released 20% of the PACER database of U.S. federal court decisions and is currently facing criminal charges for having downloaded four million academic journal articles with the alleged intention of making them publically available via peer-to-peer filesharing.

Swartz foresees a hard fight over CISPA but does have hopes that it can be defeated. He also believes that the Obama administration may be serious in its threat to veto the legislation. “I think there are some people in the White House who really do care about privacy,” he stated. “The fact is, when they looked at this bill and investigated it, they saw how incredibly bad it was and that forced them to speak out.”

This video is from RT.com, April 27, 2012.

Muriel Kane
Muriel Kane
Muriel Kane is an associate editor at Raw Story. She joined Raw Story as a researcher in 2005, with a particular focus on the Jack Abramoff affair and other Bush administration scandals. She worked extensively with former investigative news managing editor Larisa Alexandrovna, with whom she has co-written numerous articles in addition to her own work. Prior to her association with Raw Story, she spent many years as an independent researcher and writer with a particular focus on history, literature, and contemporary social and political attitudes. Follow her on Twitter at @Muriel_Kane
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