Monday, April 16, 2012

The NSA Wants Even More Power


DownsizeDC.org
April 16, 2012
by James Wilson

 "The NSA has been lobbying for a bigger role in the cybersecurity operations of private networks for some time, including more access to private communications." - Leslie Harris, Center for Democracy & Technology  

Two competing "cybersecurity" bills will be considered in the House the week of April 23.
Is Congress about to authorize private companies to share your personal information to the National Security Agency (NSA)?  

As this highly-recommended article by James Bamford shows, the NSA is already spending billions on supercomputers in order to unconstitutionally collect and permanently store your personal data. 

Should the NSA be further empowered? Or should it be stopped?

I sent the following letter to STOP the NSA using DownsizeDC.org's Hands Off the Internet Campaign, and I urge you to do the same

The hard-wired message says...
As a constituent, I insist that you oppose any attempts to undermine Internet freedom.
You may borrow from or copy these additional comments...
That is why I'm opposed to the Rogers bill (HR 3523) and the Lungren bill (HR 3674).
"Cybersecurity" is the new "terrorism." It's a made-up scare-word. It benefits those who seek federal power. It favors crony contractors. It does so at the expense of my privacy. It pretends I'll be safer if the internet is less free. 
  • Jim Dempsey, of the Center for Democracy and Technology, calls these bills a "classic case of overreach."... (http://bit.ly/I31te2)
  • Victims of cyber-attacks are already permitted to share information with The State, just as they are permitted to report crimes in the real world. 
  • We may need a tweak in current law that allows service providers to share information about _attacks_ with one another. But both bills go farther than a tweak. And the Rogers bill is FAR worse than the Lungren bill. Lungren has limits on the sharing of cybersecurity information. But the Rogers bill... (http://abcn.ws/HyRizc)
  • Contains vague language that could hand sweeping powers to agencies like the National Security Agency (NSA). For example, they could create "backdoor wiretaps." 
  • Creates a sweeping "cybersecurity exception" to every single federal and state law, including key privacy laws. 
  • Offers a very broad, almost unlimited definition of the information that can be shared with government agencies. 
  • Allows private companies to share your private communications with each other and with all other agencies of the federal government. In a cyber-crisis, warrants and prior disclosure to customers would be unnecessary.  
  • Gives blanket immunity to companies for cooperating with The State, thereby increasing the INCENTIVE to do so.   
  • Authorizes any collected personal data to be used to prosecute ANY crime, not just cybersecurity crimes. Be careful what you write in email!. As James Bamford has reported, the NSA already has too much power. This agency is creating a Big Brother system of surveillance, called Stellar Wind. (http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/03/ff_nsadatacenter/all/1) 
  • The NSA is currently constructing a $2 billion "data collection" facility in Utah. 
  • In its "near-bottomless databases will be all forms of communication, including the complete contents of private emails, cell phone calls, and Google searches." 
  • It will have the most powerful hacking system in the world for financial information, stock transactions, business deals, foreign military and diplomatic secrets, legal documents, and confidential personal communications, including ALL of my emails and phone calls. Do you seriously want to give the NSA even GREATER ability to collect our data?