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CISA bill heading to Senate vote will let government collect virtually all data without a warrant

CISA bill

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(NaturalNews) The Senate is set to vote on a cybersecurity measure that critics say will dwarf previous efforts by government to gather electronic information on all Americans without first obtaining a court-issued warrant as required by the Fourth Amendment.

What's more, the legislation – officially called the "Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015," or CISA, has the support, tacit or otherwise, of some major telecom and tech/media firms including Google, Facebook and AT&T.

As reported by The Hill:

One of the things that civil liberties activists like to lament about is that the general public seems to care more about Google and Facebook using their personal data to target advertising than the government using it to target drone strikes.

The reality is that both types of abuse are dangerous, and they work hand in hand.

It's hard to find a more perfect example of this collusion than in a bill that's headed for a vote soon in the U.S. Senate: the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, or CISA.

Gathering all "upstream surveillance" data

Though its backers are selling this legislation as necessary to shore up cybersecurity – which, admittedly, appears to be lacking in the federal government, as evidenced by the recent hack of tens of millions of current and former federal employees purportedly by China – critics claim that the measure is a straight-up surveillance bill that won't stop hackers. Rather, it essentially legalizes all forms of government and corporate spying, The Hill reported.

The way it works is like this: Companies will be granted new permission to monitor users, on their systems as well as those of any other system. Then, in order to receive immunity from all existing laws limiting mass domestic spying, the companies would be encouraged to share with the government broadly defined "cyber threat indicators."

"This could be anything from email content, to passwords, IP addresses, or personal information associated with an account," reported The Hill.

The bill's language essentially encourages tech companies to share as much data as possible, including as many personal details as they can find. Such data could then be used to further exploit an existing loophole in U.S. surveillance laws that hands Uncle Sam legal authority for what the feds have wanted all along – "upstream" collection of domestic data directly from cables and switches that comprise the Internet.

Did we mention there would be almost no oversight?

Due to secrets made public by former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, Americans are now more aware that the NSA, FBI and CIA have already been engaged in the upstream collection of U.S. citizens' personal data.

But CISA, reports The Hill, would give the Feds loads of new domestic cyber threat indicators that the government would use to conduct wider upstream surveillance over all information that passes through the Internet. So data will be gathered not just on perceived threats but also all sensitive personal information that may have been hacked as part of that threat.

"So if someone hacks all of Gmail, the hacker doesn't just get those emails, so does the U.S. government," The Hill reported, adding:

The information they gather, including all the hacked data and any incidental information that happens to get swept up in the process, would be added to massive databases on people in the U.S. and all over the world that the FBI, CIA, and NSA are free to query at their leisure. This is how CISA would create a huge expansion of the "backdoor" search capabilities that the government uses to skirt the 4th Amendment and spy on Internet users without warrants and with virtually no oversight.

American readers wishing to voice opposition to the measure can click here to send a fax to your senator.






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