You Are a Victim of the Modern Age

Written By Jimmy Mengel

Posted April 22, 2013

“Nothing was your own except the few cubic centimeters inside your skull.”

— George Orwell, 1984 

If you’re reading this, you are a victim of the modern age.

Every time you strike a key, read a story on the Web, or email your friends, you are being watched.

You are being cataloged.

You are being silently judged.

Before this week, Internet users were simply annoyed by but not overly concerned with Google trying to pitch users search-based products, or Facebook goading users to “Like” a sponsored page.

But with the passage of the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), all of your information is now chum for the big government sharks — and by “sharing,” these guys mean “hand it over right now, or else.”

Companies will now be “completely exonerated” if they cough up your personal and confidential information to the government, even if you check that tiny little box accepting their privacy policies. (All privacy policies are labyrinthine to begin with; it would take 76 full days to actually read through them!)

Don’t believe any promises these companies make about protecting your privacy. They aren’t worth the digital pixels they are displayed with. 

The government is watching everything you do.

But if you’re reading this letter, you already knew that. Every email you send, chat you have, tweet you publish, and Web page you visit is ripe for government inspection.

The language of the bill is so painfully vague, it basically strings up most anyone who logs on to a computer: 

Information directly pertaining to a vulnerability of, or threat to a system of network of a government or private entity, including information pertaining to the protection of a system or network from —

(A) efforts to degrade, disrupt, or destroy such system or network; or

(B) theft or misappropriation of private or government information, intellectual property, or personally identifiable information.

This is the criminalization of information. As famed author Tom Clancy noted, “The control of information is something the elite always does, particularly in a despotic form of government. Information, knowledge, is power. If you can control information, you can control people.”

And total control is what they got.

CISPA will actually override any and all state and federal laws protecting privacy.

The bill passed 288 to 127 in the House, and a companion bill is now being planned for the Senate. Defenders of civil liberties are already fighting to keep the bill from passing the in the Senate.

Alexis Ohanian, former owner of the popular website Reddit and Internet freedom activist, posted a video pleading with Google CEO Larry Page to reject the CISPA bill. He actually called Google to talk to Larry Page, a response that was met with: “We don’t have a Larry Page here.” Right.

Ohanian said his “hoping that all of these tech companies take the stand that their privacy policies matter, their users’ privacy matters, and no legislation like CISPA should take that away. If someone wants access to our private home or to our mail we would say, Well go get a warrant. Right? CISPA basically says, uh, not necessary. Your digital privacy is irrelevant.”

Ohanian has created a site called Save Your Privacy Policy that is taking direct aim at CISPA, much like they successfully did with the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). You can sign a petition at the website.

It’s not just the government at large that gains, but individual members of the House.

One lawmaker in particular has a conflict of interest the size of a greyhound bus: the co-sponsor of the bill, Republican Rep. Mike Rogers of Michigan. From Tech Dirt (emphasis mine): 

All attempts at cybersecurity legislation have always been about money. Mainly, money to big defense contractors aiming to provide the government with lots of very expensive “solutions” to the cybersecurity “problem” — a problem that still has not been adequately defined beyond fake scare stories. Just last month, Rogers accidentally tweeted (and then deleted) a story about how CISPA supporters, like himself, had received 15 times more money from pro-CISPA group that the opposition had received from anti-CISPA groups. 

So it seems rather interesting to note that Rogers’ wife, Kristi Clemens Rogers, was, until recently, the president and CEO of Aegis LLC a “security” defense contractor company, whom she helped to secure a $10 billion (with a b) contract with the State Department.

The company describes itself as “a leading private security company, provides government and corporate clients with a full spectrum of intelligence-led, culturally-sensitive security solutions to operational and development challenges around the world.”

Essentially, Rogers’ wife is a major player on the intelligence industrial complex. I’ve written before about the police industrial complex, but the intelligence industrial complex is actually far more lucrative…

These are a couple of insiders if we’ve ever seen them.

To add insult to injury, Mike Rogers has said on record that the only opposition to CISPA are “14-year-old tweeters in their basements.”

If you’re so inclined, you can contact Mike Rogers and let him know how you feel about your privacy being stomped upon. You might want to include the fact that you aren’t a 14-year-old typing away from a basement somewhere, but an American citizen with a right to privacy.

Alternatively, we can spend the rest of our lives tiptoeing around the Web, trying to avoid saying the “wrong” thing, hoping we don’t visit the “wrong” website. 


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