Clearly the proposed amendment is a fundamental change in the foundational beliefs of the country.
Today we want to focus a shining light on the hypocrisy of the government, the laws, and those who make them.
To do so, we need to lay a little bit of foundation first.
(Is there anything the government can do without first having some ridiculous acronym?)
CISPA is another “cyber protection bill” where the government allegedly looks out for you. While there are many disturbing parts of the bill, what we want to take notice of is CISPA allows companies – specifically internet service providers (ISP) – the right to give your private information, surfing habits, email, etc. to the government. The government would not have to supply a subpoena, just ask nicely of the ISP to turn over the information.
What sparked significant privacy worries is the section of CISPA that says “notwithstanding any other provision of law,” companies may share information “with any other entity, including the federal government.” It doesn’t, however, require them to do so.
By including the word “notwithstanding,” House Intelligence Committee Chairman Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) and ranking member Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.) intended to make CISPA trump all existing federal and state civil and criminal laws. (It’s so broad that the non-partisan Congressional Research Service once warned (PDF) that using the term in legislation may “have unforeseen consequences for both existing and future laws.”)
“Notwithstanding” would trump wiretap laws, Web companies’ privacy policies, gun laws, educational record laws, census data, medical records, and other statutes that protect information, warns the ACLU’s Richardson: “For cybersecurity purposes, all of those entities can turn over that information to the federal government.”
In that most agreements made between a person and an ISP includes restrictions on with whom the data may be shared, insulating the ISP’s from any “criminal or civil” penalties means that if your ISP gives data it has collected to you to the government, you have no recourse even though the ISP has broken the terms of the contract is has with you.
Enter into the room the other big cyber bill making the rounds: “SNOPA” or the Social Networking Online Protection Act. The bill makes it illegal:
To prohibit employers and certain other entities from requiring or requesting that employees and certain other individuals provide user name, password, or other means for accessing a personal account on any social networking website.
One of the reasons SNOPA is being enacted is:
On the other hand, [Attorney Clinton] David says, “requiring passwords does violate terms of service for Facebook, and entering a social networking site in violation of their terms of service is a federal crime, although it appears as though the Department of Justice has indicated it would not prosecute these crimes.”
If it is a federal crime to access a social networking site, and accessing that site is also a civil violation of the terms of service of the social networking site, how is it that the government can ask for, obtain, and account names and passwords to access an account without a warrant under the CIPSA? Why is it legal under the CIPSA for the government and a social networking site to violate the terms of service of that site with impunity, but anyone else can be charged with a federal crime?
(We won’t even ask why there is a law on the books that the Department of Justice won’t prosecute if the law is broken.)
The only answer to those rhetorical questions is that the government believes it is above the law it passes for others to follow.
It is a crime for an employer or a school to ask for account name and password. For the government, such actions under the CIPSA are allowed.
It is a crime for someone to violate the terms of service of a site. For the government, such actions under the CIPSA are allowed.
It is a crime for someone who is not the account holder to access an account on a social networking site. For the government, such actions under the CIPSA are allowed.
The other driving reason behind the SNOPA is:
“The American people deserve the right to keep their personal accounts private,” SNOPA co-sponsor Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., said in a statement. “No one should have to worry that their personal account information, including passwords, can be required by an employer or educational institution, and if this legislation is signed into law, no one will face that possibility.”
We agree that a person should control information on their private lives. Information such as phone numbers, addresses, tag numbers, etc., should be given out – even to employers – if necessary. A person should not expect their private information to be disseminated by the company for which they work.
Enter into room the National Labor Relations Board.
Now that the Obama administration has appointed a majority of the members of the National Labor Relations Board, the NLRB leadership has imposed new requirements that employers supply union organizers with the names and home addresses of every employee. Nor do employees have a right to decline to have this personal information given out to union organizers, under NLRB rules. (emphasis ours)
Maybe the NLRB hasn’t heard of the idea of “privacy?” Perhaps they don’t think “privacy” is worthwhile? Or maybe they can see what will happen when information is given to union organizers and don’t care:
In other words, union organizers will now have the legal right to pressure, harass or intimidate workers on the job or in their own homes, in order to get them to sign up with the union. Among the consequences of not signing up is union reprisal on the job if the union wins the election. But physical threats and actions are by no means off the table, as many people who get in the way of unions have learned.
Workers who do not want to join a union will now have to decide how much harassment of themselves and their family they are going to have to put up with, if they don’t knuckle under.
So while the government makes it illegal for a company to monitor the content of a person’s social networking site, they are now demanding that companies give up private information on where a person lives to groups that have shown a propensity for violence.
What make this worse is that the NLRB is not an elected body. There is no legislature to which a company can appeal. There are no safe guards for the company or the worker – just “give out the information or else.”
What the last two posts have shown and continue to show is that the government is no longer “of the people” nor governing with the “consent of the people.” The government is seeking a fundamental change in the rights of people as guaranteed by the Founding Fathers and founding documents of this country. The government is setting themselves as being above the laws they pass for others.
The government has turned into a monster, eating and destroying us peasants like Godzilla on steroids.