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Cyber Security and The Great Battle For Digital Liberty

Updated on May 1, 2012

Do you feel the Federal Government should regulate Cyber Crimes and Security?

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You may have recently been made aware of the new Cyber Security bill the Republicans are determined to pass, it's called CISPA. You might also have followed some of the headlines that talked about SOPA or PIPA last year. Though I bet you didn't realize just how deep the battle for Digital Freedoms is, how long it's been going on, or how much more of a battle we have ahead of us, if we're going to keep the internet a free place for everyone to use in the way they wish.

Where It All Began: National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace (2003)

There were already a few cyber security acts before the federal government created NSSC to make recommendations for securing as much cyber space as possible. It is from this group, which is facilitated by DHS, that we began to see bills emerging that could truly threaten our digital and intellectual freedoms.

Here is an exert from Wikipedia about the NSSC:

"In addition to regulation, the federal government has tried to improve cyber-security by allocating more resources to research and collaborating with the private-sector to write standards. In 2003, the President’s National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace made the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) responsible for security recommendations and researching national solutions. The plan calls for cooperative efforts between government and industry “to create an emergency response system to cyber-attacks and to reduce the nation’s vulnerability to such threats.” In 2004, Congress allocated $4.7 billion toward cyber-security and achieving many of the goals stated in the President’s National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace. Some industry security experts state that the President’s National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace is a good first step but is insufficient. Bruce Schneier stated that “The National Strategy to Secure Cyberspace hasn’t secured anything yet.” However, the President’s National Strategy clearly states that the purpose is to provide a framework for the owners of computer systems to improve their security rather than the government taking over and solving the problem. Yet, companies that participate in the collaborative efforts outlined in the strategy are not required to adopt the discovered security solutions."

No End In Sight

It began long before I can find official 'evidence' for, but just to give you an idea, here is a list of bills that congress have created and attempted to pass:

  • ICANN - Family Privacy and Security Act of 2002 (Landreiu)
  • CSEA 2002 - Cyber Security Enhancement Act (Smith)
  • SPY ACT - Securely Protect Yourself Against Cyber Trespass Act (2005) (Mack)
  • Cybersecurity Act of 2009 (Rockerfeller)
  • Cybersecurity Act of 2009 (Rockerfeller)
  • CSEA 2010 - Cyber-Security Enhancement Act (Lipinski)
  • Cyber Security And American Cyber Competitiveness Act of 2011 (Rockerfeller)
  • CIFA - Cybersecurity And Internet Freedom Act (2011) (Lieberman)
  • Homeland Security Cyber and Physical Infrastructure Protection Act of 2011 (Thompson)
  • Cybersecurity Enhancement Act of 2011 (Jackson-Lee)
  • SOPA - Stop Online Piracy Act (Smith)
  • PIPA - Protect IP Act (2011) (Leahy)
  • OPEN - Online Protection and Enforcement of Digital Trade (2011) (Wyden)
  • CCPSA - Cyber Crime Protection Security Act (2012) (Leahy)
  • SECURE IT Act of 2012 (McCain)
  • Cyber Security Act of 2012 (Rockerfeller)
  • CISPA - Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (2012) (Rogers)

Now, IMO, one of the most interesting thing about these bills, is that the majority of them were either started by or sponsored by Senator John "Jay" Rockerfeller, Senator Joseph Lieberman, Senator Harry Reid, Senator Feinstein, Senator Patrick Leahy and/or Senator John McCain - All well known names... Setting that aside, most of the acts appear to be benign from first glance, but upon further inspection, there is always some devil in the details that would never work.

Thankfully, just about all of the acts have already been labeled "dead", though just from the list already going here, you can tell that the fight is far from over. Any number of these bills could be brought back to life, recreated or cut and pasted into an entirely new bill. And that's not counting the still active bills like CISPA.

The Empire Fights Back - Tally Ho!

It is thanks to the vigilant few that most of these bills have never and will never see the light of day. And while the mugwumps are still making backroom deals to try and pass their coveted cyber security bill - there is always a light of hope that it will be stopped.

Some things that have been done or are being done to stop or prevent cyber security bills from passing:

What are you doing to protect YOUR digital rights and freedom?

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    • pagesvoice profile image

      Dennis L. Page 6 years ago from New York/Pennsylvania border

      Voted up, useful and interesting. Fear is a ruler and a motivator to many, but thankfully there are also many who remain vigilant in protecting some of our freedoms. It seems as though once or twice per week I am signing some online petition to protect us from CISPA. It appears the bills being brought about hold no particular party affiliation either, so we must all stay on our toes.

    • BizGenGirl profile image
      Author

      Bema Self 6 years ago from Seattle

      Sounds to me like we need to build a better internet, and give more people access to cores, instead of running it on an ancient system with so many flaws, instead of taking away freedoms from people who've done no wrong.

    • ib radmasters profile image

      ib radmasters 6 years ago from Southern California

      BizGirl

      The problem with digital rights is that it is the government protecting an industry, and not the people.

      The Internet was built on a 1970s vintage computer technology, and today it has been made larger and larger by hobbling layers on it.

      It is like taking a ten story building built in the 1970s and making it an Empire State Building. This was never the intention of the creators of the system. The same thing happened when Microsoft made Windows. Today Windows is like that Internet in that it was built up from a very small simple core.

      Because of backward compatibility the Windows of today has major flaws. Hacking modern day computers wouldn't be as easy as it is today, if the core of the operating system and all the programs that rely on that core didn't have flaws.

      The 1970s developed small primitive operating systems for personal computers. CPM was a popular operating system, and it is actually the core of the Disk Operating System DOS.

      DOS and CPM were not created by Bill Gates and Microsoft, but they were used to be the basis of MS Windows.

      Operating Systems from Microsoft never really got to far away from DOS, but they built Windows with so many areas for hacking, it couldn't have been developed better for hackers, then if the hackers built it.

      In the 70s hardware was expensive and memory and computing power were low. So programmers trying to make the OS and programs that ran under them used shortcuts. These shortcuts were then used by the hackers to get into the computer systems.

      Now you tie that into an Internet that also had the same genealogy and you give hackers not only entry into single computers, but also networks of computers.

      My point is that someone, even the government needs to do something about the hacking, and other offenses that occur on personal, business and government computers and systems.

      These hack attacks are not just for pranks, they can even be deadly.

      With the Internet of today we have built a super fast vehicles, but it has small brakes and limited steering. It is an accident waiting to happen.

      The consumers of these systems have real problems trying to get them to work as advertised, but hackers seem to be able to have these systems work for them.

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