US Congress to vote on 'cybersecurity' bills that are basically surveillance bills in disguise


The bills aim to allow private companies to share large swaths of private information with the government with no legal process whatsoever… [and] prevent the public from ever being able to find out what type or amount of information these companies handed over.

I wonder if corporations realize those privacy policies don’t just protect the unwashed. They also buttress public trust in corporations themselves. Companies used to see public trust as a valuable asset, and this law would simply abolish it. The only reasonable response would be for us all to assume companies are hostile government agents. Does Google want that? Does Apple?


“The bills aim to allow private companies…”

Uh, no. The bills aim to create a system in which government can coerce private companies into “voluntarily” producing this information. Like the security theatre that are the FISA Court and Security Letters, these laws allow the government to set up a system that would allow them to do what the Constitution and its Bill of Rights would otherwise forbid. By making the disclosure “voluntary”, there is no violation. Like with Security Letters, for which there is no provision in the Constitution or previously established precedent, companies will be threatened with legal expenses and other potential sanctions and adverse consequences if they don’t comply. Likely, it will not be until the cost of compliance - due to consumer backlash- is greater than the cost of non-compliance that companies will stand up to this. With the U.S. Government one of the biggest, if not biggest, single payor in the private market domestically, that time may be far off. And, of course, the government has a number of other “pressure points” it can use. What we have allowed is the creation of a system where compliance with government demands is legally “voluntary”, without being voluntary at all.

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I am somewhat reluctant to be a grammar stickler, but here it is. Can’t we just say “the bills will harm all Americans’ privacy” instead of:

the bills will adversely affect all Americans’ privacy

You can with a good financial and rule-of-law theory of privacy; ‘privacy’ sounds ephemeral or like an undisclosed point in bankers’ previous privacy screen (3M; on monitors; blackens off-angle) use.

So…could be! There is every knowledge problem and privilege conflict built on this. That’s before the to-do’s privatized. I mean, Gillebrand as a complex person yay, but the cheery angle’s harder to fish for in this.

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