Civil libertarians slam McCain’s crap cybersecurity legislation

McCain’s laptop computer

A cybersecurity bill introduced by Republican Senator John McCain could dramatically expand the domestic reach of U.S. intelligence agencies and potentially give them massive troves of emails, civil liberties advocates said.

“This is a privacy nightmare that will eventually result in the military substantially monitoring the domestic, civilian Internet,” said Michelle Richardson of the American Civil Liberties Union.

Unlike the Democratic-led alternative supported by Majority Leader Harry Reid, the McCain bill stresses voluntary information sharing instead of regulation of critical industries by the Department of Homeland Security…But the types of information that could be shared are broad, and the data would go to “cybersecurity centers” that specifically include the National Security Agency’s Threat Operations Center and the U.S. Cyber Command Joint Operations Center.

McCain spokesman Brian Rogers said such concerns were both overblown, premature…and blah, blah, blah.

The bill says private companies such as Internet service providers could send the defense agencies evidence such as “network activity or protocols known to be associated with a malicious cyber actor or that may signify malicious intent.”

Neither “network activity” nor “malicious intent” are defined in the bill, and they could theoretically encompass ordinary emails containing legal protest speech, the ACLU’s Richardson said.

“It does appear it includes a hole through which the NSA may be able to drive a freight train,” blogged Jerry Britto, a senior research fellow at George Mason University’s Mercatus Center and an adjunct law professor at the university…

As troubling to civil libertarians as the scope of the data are the destination agencies and the lack of recourse. Companies that tip off federal officials would be protected from lawsuits and criminal charges over what they pass along.

Flunkies in Congress filling their wallets with love money from the RIAA and MPAA are dangerous enough to the future of the Internet. Turn a paranoid fear-monger like McCain loose on the topic and you can be guaranteed Homeland Insecurity becomes an additional focus of our government spying on citizens. With the loonies doing the defining of what is dangerous thought.

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