back to article Congress strips out privacy protections from CISA 'security' bill

The little-loved Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) will likely become law this week, and in a form far worse than first thought. After passing the House of Representatives and the Senate, CISA has been marked up in congressional sessions in a way that has removed most of its privacy protections. CISA has also been …

  1. elDog Silver badge

    Aw shit. Here it comes.

    While THEY were already anal-izing everything about you that they could get their grubby mitts upon, this just says "Shove it." We OWN you, we OWN your data, your friends' data, your professional lives, your intimacies (assuming...)

    Wire cages on the face with a hungry rat inside. A slowly descending pendulum. Vats of green protein.

    Please, World; the rest of the world other than this incredibly stoopid USofA one; please give us hope that real humanity can continue.

    1. Mark 85 Silver badge

      @elDog -- Re: Aw shit. Here it comes.

      Please, World; the rest of the world other than this incredibly stoopid USofA one; please give us hope that real humanity can continue.

      And where might that be? Every country is passing stupidity lately when it comes to this. So where? I and lots of other folks would really like to know.

      I'll give an upvote since you, as I do, still have some smidgeon of hope left.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Aw shit. Here it comes.

      "Please, World; the rest of the world other than this incredibly stoopid USofA one; please give us hope that real humanity can continue."

      Sorry mate, over here in the UK we'll see something similar happening soon. There's no hope here, either.

      1. g e

        @AC

        And when uk.gov decides to get out of EU then we'll properly be the 50-nth state in all but declaration, I should think.

      2. annodomini2

        Re: Aw shit. Here it comes.

        @AC

        It already exists.

        They just don't like to talk about it.

    3. big_D Silver badge

      Re: Aw shit. Here it comes.

      And people questioned why the EU decided Safe Harbour wasn't worth the toilet paper it was scribbled on...

      Also, the German government has been pushing "Email made in Germany", where the ISPs and businesses guarantee that email will be end-to-end encrypted, as long as it remains within the borders of Germany.

    4. Wzrd1

      Re: Aw shit. Here it comes.

      That's why there is encryption, no further messages will be sent by me that aren't GPG encrypted.

      1. CanadianMacFan

        Re: Aw shit. Here it comes.

        What good is encrypting your data during transmission when the company you send your data to is handing it over to the government after decrypting it?

  2. cbars

    "There is a problem with this approach"

    You're telling me! All governments, globally, seem hell bent on passing ridiculous, over-reaching, dangerous legislation and waiting for the judiciary to sort it out later (maybe - it's a "nice to have").

    The periodic revolutions/civil wars throughout history have always baffled me; haven't we been heading steadily toward an enlightened and idealised age?

    Nope, it makes complete sense. Off with their fucking heads, they aren't using them anyway.

    Who am I kidding? I have run out of expletives, like some commentards on an earlier forum, I'm drifting ever more toward apathy. I wonder if I'd be happier being ignorant...

    1. Grikath

      Re: "There is a problem with this approach"

      "The periodic revolutions/civil wars throughout history have always baffled me;"

      And now you're seeing how they get started, front-row.

      1. cbars

        Re: "There is a problem with this approach"

        Kind of the point I was trying to make.

        I can only draw a parallel to a purging forest fire, not great if you're around to get caught up in it, but surprisingly essential in the long run

  3. heyrick Silver badge

    What fucked up approach to democracy

    Allows bills to be "tacked on" to other ones?

    We aren't immune over this side of the ocean either, I dimly recall an attempt to tack software patents on to some Scandinavian fishing legislation a while back. Stuff like that should be outlawed. A piece of legislature is a piece of legislature, a piece of legislature with stuff "attached" is an abomination.

    1. veti Silver badge

      Re: What fucked up approach to democracy

      Yep, this is the real abomination here.

      Here's a thought: when passing a law, in order for legislators' votes to count, each voter in favour should be required to read the entire thing out aloud. And make recordings of themselves doing it available on YouTube.

      I realise that wouldn't be exactly riveting viewing, but it'd be an excellent go-to resource for attack ads.

    2. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: What fucked up approach to democracy

      The game in the US is to attach the bill to something President wants and dare him to veto it. He has to veto the entire bill not parts.

      1. Charles 9 Silver badge

        Re: What fucked up approach to democracy

        They better be careful, though. Obama's already called the bluff a few times, even during a shutdown negotiation. He actually has vetoed bills he wanted because they'd been poisoned.

        1. Danny 14 Silver badge

          Re: What fucked up approach to democracy

          Veto and publically admonish those who tack the bill on. Give full support the for original and full disclosure - that's the way to get rid of things.

          If it doesn't get passed then sit the blame on those who poisoned the original.

          1. Charles 9 Silver badge

            Re: What fucked up approach to democracy

            Problem is two can play that game, and the House in particular has historically blamed President Obama for everything that goes wrong in the country regardless of its real cause; they just use the "six degrees" technique to connect everything to him. In such an environment, admonishment doesn't work because they can ignore it in their heads and just admonish Obama back, piling on extra reasons to make their story look like the real one. Remember, the game of chicken did end up crashing at least once with a shutdown of about two weeks, and they keep blaming Obama for that shutdown, even when public opinion showed otherwise; after all, the GOP regained the Senate in 2014 in spite of it.

    3. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: What fucked up approach to democracy

      Truth is, Congress had actually had gentlemen's agreements to avoid non-germane riders. Thing was, riders were also the best tool to get lesser Congresspeople to sign on to controversial bills (IOW, if persuasion doesn't work, try bribery). Since the lesser Congresspeople lacked the power, they couldn't get anything done directly for their constituents, so it became something of a necessary evil to tempt these votes with riders to keep those districts happy so they can be re-elected

      So basically, removing riders prevented bridges to nowhere but it also burned the bridges needed to get the tough acts passed, meaning Congressional activity (and approval) tanked.

    4. Grikath

      Re: What fucked up approach to democracy

      Heinlein actually outlined the "tacking on" process ( and other stuff we get riled up about nowadays) in the novella "Magic Inc. " (1940 (!) )

      One of his lesser known works, but as with a lot of his work very much on target, in a "sure this doesn't/wouldn't ever happen, right?" kind of way.

    5. CanadianMacFan

      Re: What fucked up approach to democracy

      Having them as separate bills still wouldn't make the politicians read and comprehend them before voting on the bills. For the most part they just vote along party lines anyways.

      The previous Harper government in Canada was well known for their omnibus budget bills which shoved everything but the kitchen sink. And if they could have put that in they would have.

  4. John Smith 19 Gold badge
    Unhappy

    "data handed over is immune from freedom of information requests."

    Yes, we're taking every shred of your privacy

    But we don't want you to know it's happening.

    Like a rapist telling a victim "Now say 'I love you' " afterward.

    I'm also curious

    Has Congress ever repealed a law it passed for being (basically) too f**k witted to stand?

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: "data handed over is immune from freedom of information requests."

      By their standard, any law that is still standing and hasn't been overturned can't be too f-witted to stand.

    2. NotBob
      Pint

      Re: "data handed over is immune from freedom of information requests."

      Has Congress ever repealed a law it passed for being (basically) too f**k witted to stand?

      Prohibition comes to mind. Of course, that may have been repealed as much because of lost tax revenue on the bootleg stuff as for anything else.

      1. Wzrd1

        Re: "data handed over is immune from freedom of information requests."

        Originally, the US government was funded from taxation on alcohol. As prohibition was nearing being passed, income tax was created to replace the lost government revenue.

        Interestingly, after prohibition was repealed, income tax remained, doubling the amount of money that the federal government received.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: "data handed over is immune from freedom of information requests."

          I believe income tax (which the 16th Amendment allowed by exempting it from existing restrictiong) was addressed separately from the matter of excise taxes. Income tax had been tossed around since the Civil War, but the Pollock case forced a resolution because SCOTUS got involved and limited income tax to that from labor (the states were supposed to get a proportional cut from income tax from other sources).

          There had also been a discussion in the past about which was better: an income tax or a sales tax. They settled on the income tax primarily because it was harder to hide income under the table.

  5. Graham Marsden
    Holmes

    Well...

    ... there's a surprise...!

    (See icon for details)

  6. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

    This idea of Trumps about pulling the plugs. From this side of the pond it sounds like a good idea.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Great Idea

      Just cut the Internet in the USA off from the one the rest of the world uses. Most mericans would not notice it anyway. Then DT (time for a dose of the DT's.....) would get his wish.

      Then we could make the wall along the border with Mexico even highter, make one along the Canadian border as well, stop all international flights to the USA and let them stew in their own juices.

      I know this is a pipedream but sometimes US politicians[1] reveal themselves to be totally ignorant of the real world. It makes ours look positively intelligent (apart from the odd loony but that adds to the spice of life). The sad thing is that middle america believes what DT is saying.

      Scenes from Dr Strangelove keep coming to mind here. Shudder.

      [1] We need a collective noun for US Politicians. May I humbly suggest Loons.

      1. John Smith 19 Gold badge
        Unhappy

        a collective noun for US Politicians. May I humbly suggest Loons.

        Hard to believe but the US Con-gress actually passed a law forbidding the use of "Lunatic" or "Lunacy" (or other synonym) in reference to mental health or indeed other issues.

        It was felt to be ignorant and insensitive to people with mental health problems.

        Which would appear to include several of the candidates, who seem to be suffering from a range of delusional behaviors.

      2. Mark 85 Silver badge

        Re: Great Idea -- Cutting the internet, building a wall, etc.

        Since I'm in the States... maybe just do this around Washington, D.C. instead of the whole country? Ok. maybe most of California, and Texas too...

        1. Danny 14 Silver badge

          Re: Great Idea -- Cutting the internet, building a wall, etc.

          secession for the forward thinkers? Not sure which states this would work for though. Washington? Boston?

          1. Wzrd1

            Re: Great Idea -- Cutting the internet, building a wall, etc.

            "secession for the forward thinkers? Not sure which states this would work for though. Washington? Boston?"

            Washington is a state, Washington District of Columbia is a federal district that lacks statehood. Boston is a city.

            Cutting off D.C. from the rest of the country would strangle the bible belt, as the most conservative states tend to have the highest number of people on welfare, relief for those across the pond.

            I see little hope for the US, the republican frontrunners are fascists and dominionists (seeking a theocracy).

            Well, it looks like it's time to renew my passport, I might have to get out of this failing nation before it destroys itself.

        2. Siberian Hamster

          Re: Great Idea -- Cutting the internet, building a wall, etc.

          The danger if you do wall off these places is that the president's personal aircraft gets shot down while over-flying and snake Plisken isn't around!

      3. Sherrie Ludwig

        Re: Great Idea

        [1] We need a collective noun for US Politicians. May I humbly suggest Loons.

        The Canadians have a coin which has a loon on it, and they are called "loonies". Besides impugning the character of a beautiful and harmless bird, it might give the incorrect impression that a politician has any worth or value at all.

        1. Robert Halloran

          Re: Great Idea

          There's an apocryphal comment attributed to John Adams: "One useless man is called a disgrace, two a law firm, and three or more a Congress"...

      4. Wzrd1

        Re: Great Idea

        Blather, no need to go to all that effort, just cut off all imports, including oil, from the US. Watch merry hell break loose.

        There is indeed a collective noun for US politicians, we call them what they are, whores and assholes.

    2. Wzrd1

      "This idea of Trumps about pulling the plugs. From this side of the pond it sounds like a good idea."

      Nothing from Trump sounds great, he's a fascist and honestly, didn't we have enough of them during WWII?

  7. Someone Else Silver badge
    Mushroom

    No, not quite

    EFF legislative analyst Mark Jaycox stated, despondently:

    "We need to work on the further education of Congress [...]

    No, Mark. Educating Congress in general, and this Congress in particular, is a fool's errand (quite literally, when you think of it). NO, what we need to do is get up offa our fat, Nintendo-addled asses, spend just a little time educating ourselves about our options, and vote, vote, VOTE! Vote in primaries, vote in caucuses, make sure our Nintendo-addled friends get up offa their asses and that they vote, take people to polls on election day(s), get busy and get involved. Let the bastards who would sell our privacy and security for the illusion of safety (and a few pieces of silver) know they fucked up, and don't ever given them the chance to do it again!

    1. cbars

      Re: No, not quite

      Which one was the party that will protect privacy and civil liberties again? Democrats or Republicans?

      Never mind.

      1. Captain DaFt

        Re: No, not quite

        There are more than two political parties in the USA, even though the Republican and Democratic parties do their utmost to marginalize them. http://www.politics1.com/parties.htm

        So you can quit wasting your vote just switching the same two to back and forth, over and over, to no effect.

        Shake things up, either find a party that's actually more inline with what you believe, or just pick any that's not the same ol'-same ol' and vote for them.

        It's one of the only two ways this side of a bloody revolution anything's actually going to change.

        Oh, you want to know the other option? http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2872068/posts

        Yeah, good luck with that since the same two parties control all the state governments as well.

        1. Charles 9 Silver badge

          Re: No, not quite

          That won't help in Congressional election. A huge chunk of them run uncontested, meaning there aren't even two parties on the ballot, let alone three.

    2. Stoneshop Silver badge
      Thumb Down

      Re: No, not quite

      NO, what we need to do is get up offa our fat, Nintendo-addled asses,

      What? You're not using Good Old Homeboy Apple Pie Made In USA (as if) XBoxes? Shame on you and your Nintendo-addled ass.

    3. Gnosis_Carmot

      Re: No, not quite -FIFY

      "....Let the bastards who would sell our privacy and security for Corporate Profits...."

    4. zerowaitstate

      Re: No, not quite

      Vote how? At the electronic voting machine, whose software the NSA will be given remote access to in exchange for legal immunity to the makers of the machine?

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "The traditional way of overcoming bad law is in the US courts...."

    Why don't we just ban *.gov from half the internet? And their IP blocks too of course. Oh... maybe that's why the govt funded TOR. Well, let them enjoy the slowness...

  9. P. Lee Silver badge

    >haven't we been heading steadily toward an enlightened and idealised age?*

    *citation needed

    --

    Why do people think this? We have more advanced tech, that is all. A better age requires better people. If you look around, do you see evidence of that?

  10. gerdesj

    2nd Amendment

    If the Second Amendment to the US Constitution can still be used to justify carrying of firearms, then surely it can further abused into the 21st century and the intertubes. Why on earth are the NRA not teaching people how to use weapons grade (*) encryption and how to install and use LOIC? Surely a cannon is what you need to protect your property and family.

    So why on earth is the discussion about how to bugger up encryption even happening? I would expect that a properly briefed bunch of Republicans would understand that IT tools like encryption and LOIC are actually God given and required by the Constitution of the USA and subsequent Amendments. All right minded Americans should be tooled up immediately.

    Cheers

    Jon

    (*) Remember when us foreign nationals were only allowed 512 bit SSL with American products because stronger forms were considered munitions?

    1. Dadmin

      Re: 2nd Amendment

      Unfortunately, the NRA is not that smart. Encryption might as well be classic greek architecture as far as that lot of bible-reading morons is concerned. And I do remember the limits on encryption being consider as "dangerous products in the wrong hands*" and I believe that was an abomination helped perpetrated by Bill Clinton and his great thinkers. I'm mostly a democrab, but even this latest administration has failed the US citizens by continued, unwarranted data spying, and other secret shit we won't find out for decades. How do we change this shit-thinking brought to us wholesale by the continued corporatization of this country? Both the crabs and the pubes are not equipped to rid themselves of the bullshit practice of bribery, referred to as lobbying, and all the backroom money it brings in. Not to mention the cushy high-paid jobs in the corporations paying for influence after their stint in office is done, and they have "played ball" with the criminals dressed in nice suits. Will my vote have more meaning when it arrives with US$6000 as a "lobbying offer" to my nearest creep, er I mean government representative? Why else would these bunch of crooks and assholes be fighting tooth and nail for low-paying government jobs unless there wasn't legalized bribery and offers for jobs that are not paying minimum wage? And that's where we come full circle to the hoards of poor, uneducated, minimum-wage dickheads who vote in these worthless millionaires like they'll somehow get a better job or some sweet tax break. It never happens, yet there's still plenty of idiots who eat up the rehtoric like any of it matters.

      Let's be clear; whoever becomes the leader of your country, they will not have the immediate impact to your daily life that most noisy assholes claim. PM or President, they are figureheads working for an organization that SHOULD be a beneficial part of life for it's citizens, yet more often these days they are just the incumbents of a system geared to keep a couple of general classes of people in their place making products and spending money, and not questioning the spying.

      *any non-US user

      1. moiety

        Re: 2nd Amendment

        how to install and use LOIC

        You don't wanna do that...it gives your IP away. As far as I can tell, the LOIC was built to provide expendable chaff so that police have somebody to arrest and newspapers get something to print while the ringleaders get away with it.

        DDoSing is pretty lame anyway. If that's the way you want to protest then learn about chained proxies, learn how to get into websites...a goatse is worth several thousand words.

      2. cortland

        Re: 2nd Amendment

        re "the crabs and the pubes"

        That deserves bonus upvotes!

  11. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

    Congress Critters living down to their reputation

    Let's see Congress critters have been called "America's native criminal class", accused of subtracting from the sum total of human knowledge when they open their mouths, being idiots, and being dumber than a flea. They all fit here.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Mass protests

    Nothing short of 100's of thousands marching on the Capitol are going to change things.

    We're well beyond "getting off our fat asses" to vote here. Time to get off those asses, grab a picket sign and close off Pennsylvania Avenue.

    Oh, and bring plenty of water. You'll need it to wash out the tear gas and pepper spray.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Mass protests

      And plenty of money, seeing as how you probably won't have a job to come back to once you're done in DC. I mean, what happened to all the people who tried to Occupy Wall Street?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Mass protests - Agent provocateur

        Protest I went to (Criminal justice act 1994) got derailed by a secondary unrelated group with floats, loud music and a ton of equipment. They just appeared about 15min after our protest group reached Hide park.

        Hearing the loud music, which was drowning out the protest leaders speech over a loud speaker system, my protest group wandered over to see what was going on. They were met by a police picket line. I managed to get a prime seat on top of a green substation.

        One lad (a tad drunk), about 6 meters to my left and down, dropped his placard so he stepped one step forward, past the railing and police line, to pick it up. He was immediately jumped on by 3 MET officers and pummelled with their shields (round smaller ones). The lads mates tried to pull him back to safety but got dragged along with the lad across the police line and beaten.

        The surrounding group seeing this surged forward.

        This continued, wave after wave, for hours.

        .

        Afterwards almost all of the papers declared that the protesters were exactly the reason for these laws.

        The Times (pre-Murdock) however did come close to the truth.

  13. Oengus Silver badge
    Mushroom

    Mass protests will fizzle

    With all of the data collected by the TLAs they will be able to stop participants before the protests get off the ground. Because the protests will directly impact the TLAs they will act. Not like the current situation where the terrorist actors are allowed to perform some of their actions (despite being known to the TLAs) to prop up the TLA's justification of their need for the extra powers.

    1. Stoneshop Silver badge
      Big Brother

      Re: Mass protests will fizzle

      Given the number of gun-wielding, bomb-toting terrrrist attacks they've stopped before they happened, one could expect the protest gathering to also go unnoticed in the humongous haystacks of data the TLA's have at their disposal.

      Oh wait, terrrrists are just solitary needles, they won't ever find those unless they become hidden in ever bigger haystacks.

  14. MainframeBob

    Impact om Safe Harbour problems?

    It would have been nice if the article had mentioned how this will impact on the ongoing Safe Harbour negotioations/problems.

    1. SImon Hobson Silver badge

      Re: Impact om Safe Harbour problems?

      Indeed it would - but it hardly needs to, if the Merkins had any ideas of negotiating a replacement, this has blown any such possibility right out of the ocean (not that it wasn't sinking on it's own of course).

  15. Kevin McMurtrie Silver badge

    Traffic problems solved

    I was just thinking that traffic here in Silicon Valley was getting out of control with so many tech companies popping up. Thank you to the government for fixing that. With all commerce becoming unsafe by design, the US will soon be too poor to use cars.

  16. LDS Silver badge

    Looks the Safe Harbour demise didn't make them more careful...

    .... do they believe EU and others won't take this also into account when ruling about transferring their citizens data to US based companies?

    1. moiety

      Re: Looks the Safe Harbour demise didn't make them more careful...

      I don't think they give a shit because they have got ISPs routing everything through the US anyway. I'm with Vodafone and -while some Spain-to-Spain connections stay within the country- pretty well everything else runs through the US. UK? Through the US. France (the country next door)? US.

      Then there's Cloudflare...

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Looks the Safe Harbour demise didn't make them more careful...

        "I don't think they give a shit because they have got ISPs routing everything through the US anyway."

        Which "they" is your "they"? NSA might not worry. BigCos losing business to EU companies (the best outcome all round) will. And I suppose they will make their concern$ known to politician$ in the time-honoured way.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Looks the Safe Harbour demise didn't make them more careful...

          You'd think it would be cheaper for the BigCos to buy out any potential EU competition, though. That's the time-honored capitalist way. If you can't beat them and run them out of town, join them to you by buying them out.

  17. Gray
    Big Brother

    Never stand ...

    between a politician, a hysterical, fear-crazed public, and his promise to keep them all safe.

  18. cortland

    There goes

    "redress of grievances". It was good while it lasted.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wht we need to work on is...

    ...the education of the gullible sheeple general public who hear sound bites and believe that the gov'ment wants to invade their privacy when in fact you don't even exist to authorities unless you are a crim or terrorist. The scare tactics and ignorance perpetuated by the sky-is-falling privacy nutcakes is appalling and intended to deceive the technically clueless and it's working.

    1. Charles 9 Silver badge

      Re: Wht we need to work on is...

      That's kinda tough when the average Joe Public isn't interested in learning. Please note all those people who swear on their Bibles or whatever that the world is only 6,000 years old, that anyone and anything that's been to space has been tricked by the Devil, and that Final Judgment is nearly 20 years overdue. As a comedian once said, "You can't fix Stupid."

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