Diane Feinstein (D-CA), hater of freedom and protector of the Three-letter Agencies, is back with a whole new bill that effectively broadens the scope of "cyber threat indicators" so much that you would be hard pressed not to get yourself wiretapped. The bill, approved at the latest meeting of the Senate Intelligence Committee is known as The Cybersecurity Intelligence Sharing Act of 2014, or CISA. CISA centralizes the NSA in a threat management role, while simultaneously mandating the sharing of all threat information cross-agency. According to the Center for Technology in Technology (CDT), CISA effectively creates a back door wiretap which may be used for vague law enforcement purposes.
The writers of the bill are defending it though. The main defense they put forward is that the bill strengthens measures to be used against legitimate cyber threats. Senator Feinstein states, "Every week we hear about the theft of personal information from retailers and trade secrets from innovative businesses, as well as ongoing efforts by foreign nations to hack government networks. This bill is an important step toward curbing these dangerous cyber attacks." The bill is not expected to pass.
We've heard of bills like this before, and they get more publicity now since the Snowden leaks. No person feels like we should do nothing about the concerns Feinstein raises in her statement, yet the sour taste in our mouths left by the NSA has not gone away. It simply does not compute that the people we need to put in charge of our privacy and safety are the same people who have no respect for us to begin with. Moreover, we are well aware of the dystopic possibilities lingering anytime we beef up the abilities and powers of an agency known to have directly spied on American citizens.
If Senator Feinstein truly wishes to be the standard-bearer of the surveillance state, then she is free to pursue that end. But, it is up to the citizens, her constituents, to point out that the end she desires is not an end that most Americans are comfortable with. One hopes the democratic process is accounted for in this matter, and that this bill burns in the same pile as all of the others, but the old adage still holds: Let's run it up the flagpole, and see if anyone salutes it. If you try enough times, eventually something will pass.