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S. 754 / H.R. 2029

Privacy and Control: CISA

CISA was reintroduced and passed -- secretly buried in a 2000 page budget bill.

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Perfect or Nothing

If the Bill of Rights is violated, it doesn't matter what else is right or necessary about a bill.


by Loyal 9 staff

United states bill of rights 1 630x670 cc

Maybe it's obsolete?

A congressman just responded to a Loyal 9 member's letter concerning CISPA with a very thoughtful and respectful explanation for his vote. The congressman explained that we need to protect ourselves from cyberspace attack (agree), that businesses were clamoring for this protection (ok), and that there currently was no mechanism for companies to share such warnings with each other.


These things may all be true. But! The bill is still wrong.


The bill is wrong because it is not perfect.


I know that laws are complex. I know that common ground must be forged for any solution. I DO want the world protected for my family and me. I realize that there are two sides to an issue.


But there are not two sides to the Bill of Rights. What it says is what it says. And what I fear more than the badguys are those who claim to protect me by taking away our greatest protection, the protections of the Bill of Rights.


These protections were declared Unalienable, but they are sure being challenged now. We inherited these protections from those who sacrificed their own lives and families and safety for it – because they had lived without them.


Now, too many tell us it is too simplistic to believe our founding documents are infallible. “The world is different now,” we are told. “The founders couldn’t foresee the world as it is.” Or, “That’s not what that word really means in the amendment.” Or, “That is the sacrifice required to protect ourselves from [fill in the blank: crooks, terrorists, ourselves].” We are told, “Well nothing can be perfect,” “We will fix it later,” “Your just paranoid conspiracists,” “The government would never actually do that thing allowed in that loophole.”


Maybe the documents aren’t perfect. That's why an amendment process was built in. The constitution cannot be bypassed without it. When there is no standard, there is no standard. When there is nothing to guide us, no measure, no north star, no stabilizer, there is nothing but a boat without a rudder and without a compass. There is no safety.


Is the world so complex now that our forefathers couldn’t comprehend? Maybe they didn’t realize that badguys today were different enough so that now they didn’t really qualify for representation and due process. After all, our Attorney General Eric Holder tells us there are different types of due process than judicial process.


Maybe the world really is too complex now. Maybe our forebearers didn’t want soldiers quartered in their homes eavesdropping over their conversations but just didn’t realize that it was different and okay when government enforcers could someday be able to eavesdrop on our letters and conversations electronically. Of course, maybe Nathan Hale and Patrick Henry would agree that the good citizens shouldn’t really be concerned because they had nothing to hide.


Maybe the world has changed too much for the constitution. In the old days, Franklin and Washington knew that the power to declare war was so ripe for abuse and so coveted by tyrants that the checks and balances of the House of Representatives were vital. But now, oh, but now, the world is so dangerous that the Representatives must write a blank check to the executive branch and its military forces and its allies. The world is too changed from Franklin and Washington.


Thomas Jefferson didn’t understand. Back then, the right to gun ownership was the right to defend one’s home and self and family, even against the day when their newly formed government may try to disarm and subdue its citizens. Things are different now. In fact, the concept of protecting one’s self is mocked. “Oh, what are you going to do, hole up in your home and fight? You going to withstand the police if they wanted to come in? Besides, our government is benevolent and wouldn’t even want to.”


So, back where this started. CISPA. It is wrong. No matter what is right in it, it is wrong that the government can demand information without warrant, which is the balance set in place for the courts to check the executive. Warrants from the court can be procured in a short period of time and even in the middle of the night.


It is wrong that the companies are granted broad, vague and complete protection from liability in sharing the supposedly scrubbed information. The legislative branch would ax our recourse to the judicial.


It is wrong that any transactions of information are expressly excluded from the Freedom of Information Act, so while our right to privacy is potentially violated, we have no due process in protecting ourselves. Why? Why if this is so harmless, so necessary for our protection, is it so abusive and violating?


And why, if this bill is designed to protect our civil liberties, were the amendments proposed to raise privacy protections all rejected by committee without ever going to vote?


If a bill violates the Constitution or Bill of Rights, it must be voted down. There are no rationalizations that justify anything else.


Comments






Eric
AZ
05 May 2013
at 06:11PM

It's a slippery slope...


Who will govern the governors? There is only one force in the nation that can be depended upon to keep the government pure and the governors honest, and that is the people themselves. They alone, if well informed, are capable of preventing the corruption of power, and of restoring the nation to its rightful course if it should go astray. They alone are the safest depository of the ultimate powers of government

- Thomas Jefferson




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