On Thursday, August 2nd, the Senate defeated The Cybersecurity Act of 2012 S.3414, it failed to reach 8 votes needed to meet the nessasary 60 to end the debate on the bill and move forward, and the Senate has been in an August recess. Unfortunately, both California Senators, Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein voted “Yea” for this important moment for the bill.
Ron Wyden of Oregan said in a statement at wyden.senate.gov on August 2nd: “Today’s vote was one in which Senators were asked to sacrifice Internet users’ privacy and civil liberties for weak proposals to improve cyber security; I voted no. In its current form, the Cybersecurity Act does not sufficiently safeguard Internet users’ privacy and civil liberties, nor would it create the correct incentives to adequately protect the nation’s critical infrastructure from cyber threats. It’s unfortunate that there was not a clear path forward on enabling Senators to amend and improve the proposal, as there was strong bipartisan support for amendments that would have addressed many of the outstanding concerns.”
Rainey Reitman of the EFF wrote on Deeplinks on August 2nd, “We can all be proud today that there was no law enacted on our watch that would have compromised the online privacy rights of Internet users in the name of cybersecurity.”
Michelle Richardson of ACLU was quoted in a press release on August 2nd: “Regardless of today’s vote, the issue of cybersecurity is far from dead. When Congress inevitably picks up this issue again, the privacy amendments in this bill should remain the vanguard for any future bills. We’ll continue to work with Congress to make sure that the government’s cybersecurity efforts include privacy protections. Cybersecurity and our online privacy should not be a zero sum game.”
Whitehouse.gov Office of the Press Secretary said in a press release on August 2nd that they were disapointed with the defeat of Cybersecurity Act of 2012, and, “The Administration sent Congress a legislative package in May 2011 that included the new tools needed by our homeland security, law enforcement, intelligence, military and private sector professionals to secure the nation, while including essential safeguards to preserve the privacy rights and civil liberties of our citizens. Since that time, Administration officials have testified at 17 hearings on cybersecurity legislation and presented over 100 briefings, including two all-Member Senate briefings and one all-Member House briefing.”
This issue is far from over, as over the last months we’ve had information from former NSA official William Binney stating how the NSA has been using its surviellance on citizens of the US since 2001, and the appearance of current NSA chief Gen. Keith Alexander calling for attendees at DEF CON to help protect the networks and have civil liberties and privacy.
Freedom of Information Act requests for the number of times phone calls and emails have been collected or read without a warrent has been denied this last year, and cell phones can still be used to track location without a warrent. Senator Wyden of Oregan has asked to declassify information about how the intelligence community has been up to with the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act Amendments Act of 2008. In a letter to Wyden on July 20th it was said that: “It is also true that on at least one occasion the [FISA court] held that some collection carried out pursuant to the Section 702 minimization procedures used by the government was unreasonable under the Fourth Amendment.”
Senator Jeff Merkley on August 2nd has introduced the “Protect America’s Privacy Act (S. 3515)”. The bill would change the warrentless wiretapping program to put stronger protections to protect against the spy agency from using it as a means as an indirect way to target someone in the US, to ensure that improperly collected data can not be used in legal proceedings, and if information is collected on Americans that it can be accessed or searched until a warrent is obtained. The bill however does not: restore privacy protection to library and bookstore records, customer records from Internet Service Providers, financial institutions, and credit card companies. For more information and to sign a petition, visit act.credoaction.com/campaign/merkley_spying
Rep. Peter Defazio of Oregan and co-sponsor Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah introduced, on August 1st, patent reform legislation in the House. The proposed bill, HR 6245, applies specifically to computing hardware and software patents, and would shift court fees away from innocent parties.
France24 International News reported on August 5th that: Wozniak, co-founder of Apple, sees horrible problems in recent shift to uploading data to remote servers. He said, “I really worry about everything going to the cloud. I think it’s going to be horrendous. I think there are going to be a lot of horrible problems in the next five years. With the cloud, you don’t own anything. You already signed it away. I want to feel that I own things. A lot of people feel, ‘Oh, everything is really on my computer,’ but I say the more we transfer everything onto the web, onto the cloud, the less we’re going to have control over it.”
The Internet Archive, on August 7th, is offering over 1 million torrents for more efficient downloading by utilizing file-sharing software bittorrent. The torrents include their live music concerts, the Prelinger movie collection, audio books, feature films, old time radio, and many books. For more information visit blog.archive.org
Ecuador has granted Julian Assange, editor-in-chief of Wikileaks, political asylum on Thursday August 16th, after several months staying within the the Ecuadorian Embassy in London. This is after an order for him to be extradited to Sweden from his home country Australia over allegations of rape and sexual assault in Sweden. This doesn’t mean that he can leave the embassy, as the UK government will still arrest him as soon as he sets foot outside.
Catherine Crump of ACLU reported on Wednesday, August 15th that “the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals issued an unfortunate and legally incorrect decision holding that the Fourth Amendment provides no protection against warrentless cell phone tracking.” In this age when landline phones are rare, it’s fair to assume that there is an expectation of privacy. The ruling that because it’s the nature of the cell phone to reveal ones location is absurd as saying it’s the nature of a letter to be opened without consent, because it’s possible.
Kim Zetter of Wired reported on Wednesday, August 15th that: “On Tuesday, the ACLU filed a lawsuit against the FBI, seeking the immediate release of the documents on the grounds that the public has a strong interest in knowing how the FBI is complying with the ruling”. To which they are taking about the two memos that issued to agents with new guidelines for the use of surviellance technology after the Supreme Court’s decision in the Jones ruling that said the FBI can not place GPS devices on cars without a warrent.
Kevin J. O’Brien of The New York Times reported on Wednesday, August 15th that: “Data protection officials in Germany reopened an investigation into Facebook’s facial recognition technology Wednesday, saying that the social networking giant was illegally compiling a huge database of members’ photos without their consent.” and later wrote, “The Hamburg regulator is demanding that Facebook destroy its photographic database of faces collected in Germany and revise its Web site to obtain the explicit consent of members before it creates a digital file based on the biometric data of their faces.” Germany has also previously declared the ‘Like’ button illegal because of how it can be used to subversively obtain information about visitors even if they are not a part of the website. I agree with the German government, and think that this should be a part of a culture of collective responsibily to respect each others privacy.
In a lecture on July 11th, 2012 in Munich, Dr. Richard Stallman said that there may become a time when there isn’t a difference between Microsoft and the Government. And that has just become a little bit to close to reality. On August 12th, Michael Bloomberg, NYC Mayor, has announced that Microsoft will setup a city-wide surviellance network in cooperation with the New York Police Department, and it will take a portion of the profits if it is sold to other administrations. This is an unjust use of power.
In response to the revealing of 1.3 million law enforcement requests for mobile phone info from providers, Rep. Ed Markey from Massachusets has released a draft of the Wireless Surveillance Act of 2012 bill and can be found at the markey.house.gov website. It would require law enforcement to provide regular disclosure of information on the requests and to obtain search warrants prior to conducting geolocation tracking. It would also mandate Federal Communications Commission regulations limiting how long wireless carriers keep consumers’ personal information. Senator Ron Wyden from Oregan was also offering an ammendment to the Cybersecurity Act of 2012 that would also protect location privacy, in addition to other proposed bills such as: the California Location Privacy Act introducted by Senator Mark Leno from San Fransisco, and the Location Privacy Protection Act of 2011 sponsored by Senator Al Franken from Minnesota with the help from Senator Richard Blumenthal from Connecticut.
Rep. Jerrold Nadler from New York and Rep. John Conyers from Michigan are proposing the Electronic Communications Privacy Act Modernization Act of 2012. It would require the government to obtain a probable-cause warrant to access data stored on servers on the Internet. Patrick Leahy from Vermont proposed a similar bill last year, the “Electronic Communications Privacy Act Amendments Act of 2011″, both have not yet had a committee hearing.
For Poobah.com this is Braydon Fuller logging offline.
August 17th, 2012 / The Tom Coston Show with Red Rosie / ©2012 Poobah Records, available under the terms of an Attribution license.