Monday, April 30, 2012

Another step towards Big Brother

kw: politics, policy, internet, privacy, legislation

An act called CISPA (Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act) passed the U.S. House of Representatives yesterday, and now it goes to the Senate. Proponents say, "Oh, no, it won't impact the privacy of citizens," but we know that's a sham. It is interesting to them precisely because they know it erases most of our privacy protections. See this C|Net article for a good analysis.

I find that Republican congressmen voted in favor 206 to 28. I am ashamed of them. I am a registered Republican, but this sure isn't the party of Abraham Lincoln or Theodore Roosevelt any longer. I may have to become a Libertarian.

I remember the first Terabyte database, which cost about a million dollars to set up in the early 1980s. It was commissioned by the Mormons for genealogical record-keeping. My colleagues and I were joking that if a disk drive with "infinite" capacity were invented—we called it the God file—the government would order two of them. I recall saying, "Sears and GM would be next in line". Today anyone can buy a multi-terabyte disk for about $100. The Google Earth image base is a multi-petabyte (thousands of terabytes) product, and Google is only one of a number of both corporate and government entities to have file bases approaching an exabyte (a million terabytes) in size. The NSA is building a multi-exabyte data store. So just where are they going to get data to fill it? You guessed it: the Internet, and CISPA is an integral part of the process. It gives them the right to "ask" for data dumps without breaking any laws, because CISPA removes or supersedes most current legal protections. The President has stated he will veto it if the Senate passes it. That's one thing he could do that I would like a great deal!

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