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Paul Merrell

Oregon bill for net neutrality heading to governor with help of - KPTV - FOX 12 - 0 views

  • A bill that would bring a local version of net neutrality to Oregon is headed for the Governor's desk.

    House Bill 4155 would prevent public bodies such as state and local governments and school districts, from contracting with broadband providers that engage in "paid prioritization."

    An example of paid prioritization would be a provider supplying faster internet speeds to an entity like Amazon's streaming service, provided Amazon pays an extra fee.

    The bill passed easily in both the House and Senate, despite opposition from several Republicans.

  • The Oregon Cable Telecommunications Association opposed the bill, as did Comcast and Century Link, two local broadband providers.
Paul Merrell

Washington becomes first state to pass law protecting net neutrality - Mar. 6, 2018 - 0 views

  • n a bipartisan effort, the state's legislators passed House Bill 2282. which was signed into law Monday by Gov. Jay Inslee.

    "Washington will be the first state in the nation to preserve the open internet," Inslee said at the bill signing.

    The state law, approved by the legislature last month, is to safeguard net neutrality protections, which have been repealed by the Federal Communications Commission and are scheduled to officially end April 23.

    Net neutrality requires internet service providers to treat all online content the same, meaning they can't deliberately speed up or slow down traffic from specific websites to put their own content at advantage over rivals.

    The FCC's decision to overturn net neutrality has been championed by the telecom industry, but widely criticized by technology companies and consumer advocacy groups. Attorneys general from more than 20 red and blue states filed a lawsuit in January to stop the repeal.

    Inslee said the new measure would protect an open internet in Washington, which he described as having "allowed the free flow of information and ideas in one of the greatest demonstrations of free speech in our history."

    HB2282 bars internet service providers in the state from blocking content, applications, or services, or slowing down traffic on the basis of content or whether they got paid to favor certain traffic. The law goes into effect June 6.

Paul Merrell

The Senate has its own insincere net neutrality bill - 0 views

  • Now that the House of Representatives has floated a superficial net neutrality bill, it's the Senate's turn. Louisiana Senator John Kennedy has introduced a companion version of the Open Internet Preservation Act that effectively replicates the House measure put forward by Tennessee Representative Marsha Blackburn. As before, it supports net neutrality only on a basic level -- and there are provisions that would make it difficult to combat other abuses.

    The legislation would technically forbid internet providers from blocking and throttling content, but it wouldn't bar paid prioritization. Theoretically, ISPs could create de facto "slow lanes" for competing services by offering mediocre speeds unless they pay for faster connections. The bill would also curb the FCC's ability to deal with other violations, and would prevent states from passing their own net neutrality laws. In short, the bill is much more about limiting regulation than protecting open access and competition.

    Kennedy's bill isn't expected to go far in the Senate, just as Blackburn's hasn

Paul Merrell

Opinion: Berkeley Can Become a City of Refuge | Opinion | East Bay Express - 0 views

  • The Berkeley City Council is poised to vote March 13 on the Surveillance Technology Use and Community Safety Ordinance, which will significantly protect people's right to privacy and safeguard the civil liberties of Berkeley residents in this age of surveillance and Big Data.

    The ordinance is based on an ACLU model that was first enacted by Santa Clara County in 2016. The Los Angeles Times has editorialized that the ACLU's model ordinance approach "is so pragmatic that cities, counties, and law enforcement agencies throughout California would be foolish not to embrace it." Berkeley's Peace and Justice and Police Review commissions agreed and unanimously approved a draft that will be presented to the council on Tuesday.

    The ordinance requires public notice and public debate prior to seeking funding, acquiring equipment, or otherwise moving forward with surveillance technology proposals. In neighboring Oakland, we saw the negative outcome that can occur from lack of such a discussion, when the city's administration pursued funding for, and began building, the citywide surveillance network known as the Domain Awareness Center ("DAC") without community input. Ultimately, the community rejected the project, and the fallout led to the establishment of a Privacy Advisory Commission and subsequent consideration of a similar surveillance ordinance to ensure proper vetting occurs up front, not after the fact.

Paul Merrell

Senate and House Democrats Introduce Resolution to Reinstate Net Neutrality - U.S. Sena... - 0 views

  • On the Net Neutrality National Day of Action, Senate and House Democrats introduced a Congressional Review Act (CRA) resolution to overturn the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) partisan decision on net neutrality. At a press conference today, Senators Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.), Congressman Mike Doyle (PA-14), Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (CA-12) announced introduction of House and Senate resolutions to fully restore the 2015 Open Internet Order. The Senate CRA resolution of disapproval stands at 50 supporters, including Republican Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine.). Rep. Doyle’s resolution in the House of Representatives currently has 150 co-sponsors.

     

    The FCC’s Open Internet Order prohibited internet service providers from blocking, slowing down, or discriminating against content online. Repealing these net neutrality rules could lead to higher prices for consumers, slower internet traffic, and even blocked websites. A recent poll showed that 83 percent of Americans do not approve of the FCC’s action to repeal net neutrality rules.

     

  • A copy of the CRA resolution can be found HERE.

     

    Last week, the FCC’s rule repealing net neutrality was published in the Federal Register, leaving 60 legislative days to seek a vote on the Senate floor on the CRA resolutions. In order to force a vote on the Senate resolution, Senator Markey will submit a discharge petition, which requires a minimum of 30 Senators’ signature. Once the discharge petition is filed, Senator Markey and Senate Democrats will demand a vote on the resolution.

Paul Merrell

With rules repealed, what's next for net neutrality? | TheHill - 0 views

  • The battle over the Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) repeal of net neutrality rules is entering a new phase, with opponents of the move launching efforts to preserve the Obama-era consumer protections.

    The net neutrality rules had required internet service providers to treat all web traffic equally. Republicans on the commission decried the regulatory structure as a gross overreach, and quickly moved to reverse them once the Trump administration came to power. 

    The reversal of the rules was published in the Federal Register Thursday, and even though the order is months away from implementation, net neutrality supporters are now free to mount legal challenges to the action. 

    A coalition of Democratic state attorneys general, public interest groups and internet companies have vowed to fight in the courts. Twenty-three states, led by New York and its attorney general, Eric Schneiderman (D), have already filed a lawsuit. 

  • The emerging court battle over net neutrality could keep the issue in limbo for years.

    Meanwhile, a separate battle over the rules is brewing in Congress.

    Senate Democrats have secured enough support to force a vote on a bill that would undo the FCC’s December vote and leave the net neutrality rules in place. 

    The bill, which is being pushed by Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), would use a legislative tool called the Congressional Review Act (CRA) to roll back the FCC’s repeal of net neutrality. 

    The entry of the FCC’s repeal order in the Federal Register Thursday means that the Senate has 60 legislative days to move on the CRA bill. Democrats have secured support from one Republican, Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsOvernight Tech: Judge blocks AT&T request for DOJ communications | Facebook VP apologizes for tweets about Mueller probe | Tech wants Treasury to fight EU tax proposal Overnight Regulation: Trump to take steps to ban bump stocks | Trump eases rules on insurance sold outside of ObamaCare | FCC to officially rescind net neutrality Thursday | Obama EPA chief: Reg rollback won't stand FCC to officially rescind net neutrality rules on Thursday MORE (Maine), and need just one more to cross the aisle for the bill to pass the chamber. 

  • Even if Democrats do manage to find the tie-breaking vote in the Senate, the bill is almost certain to die in the House. But Democrats see a roll call vote as an opportunity to make GOP members stake out a position on an issue that they think could resonate in the midterm elections. 

    On yet another front, Democratic states around the country have already launched their own attack on the FCC’s rules. Five governors (from Montana, Hawaii, New Jersey, Vermont and New York) have in recent weeks signed executive orders forbidding their states from doing business with internet service providers who violate net neutrality principles. 

    And, according to the pro-net neutrality group Free Press, legislatures in 26 states are weighing bills that would codify their own open internet protections. 

    The local efforts could ignite a separate legal battle over whether states have the authority to counteract the FCC’s order, which included a provision preempting them from replacing the rules.

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  • For their part, Republicans who applauded the FCC repeal are calling for a legislation that would codify some net neutrality principles. They say doing so would allow for less heavy-handed protections that provide certainty to businesses.

    But most net neutrality supporters reject that course, at least while the repeal is tied up in court and Republicans control majorities in both the House and Senate. They argue that such a bill would amount to little more than watered-down protections that would be unable to keep internet service providers in check. 

    For now, Democrats seem content to let the battles in the courts and Congress play out.

Paul Merrell

Net Neutrality Revisited, and More from CRS | - 0 views

  • The Congressional Research Service produced a newly updated report on the subject, suggesting that congressional intervention might be appropriate.

    “The FCC’s move to reexamine its existing open Internet rules has reopened the debate over whether Congress should consider a more comprehensive measure to amend existing law to provide greater regulatory stability and guidance to the FCC,” the CRS report said, adding that whether Congress would do so “remains to be seen.”  See The Net Neutrality Debate: Access to Broadband Networks, updated November 22, 2017.

Paul Merrell

Open Access Can't Wait. Pass FASTR Now. | Electronic Frontier Foundation - 0 views

  • When you pay for federally funded research, you should be allowed to read it. That’s the idea behind the Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (S.1701, H.R.3427), which was recently reintroduced in both houses of Congress.

    FASTR was first introduced in 2013, and while it has strong support in both parties, it has never gained enough momentum to pass. We need to change that. Let’s tell Congress that passing an open access law should be a top priority.

  • Tell Congress: It’s time to move FASTR

    The proposal is pretty simple: Under FASTR, every federal agency that spends more than $100 million on grants for research would be required to adopt an open access policy. The bill gives each agency flexibility to implement an open access policy suited to the work it funds, so long as research is available to the public after an “embargo period” of a year or less.

    One of the major points of contention around FASTR is how long that embargo period should be. Last year, the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee approved FASTR unanimously, but only after extending that embargo period from six months to 12, putting FASTR in line with the 2013 White House open access memo. That’s the version that was recently reintroduced in the Senate.  The House bill, by contrast, sets the embargo period at six months.

    EFF supports a shorter period. Part of what’s important about open access is that it democratizes knowledge: when research is available to the public, you don’t need expensive journal subscriptions or paid access to academic databases in order to read it. A citizen scientist can use and build on the same body of knowledge as someone with institutional connections. But in the fast-moving world of scientific research, 12 months is an eternity.

    A shorter embargo is far from a radical proposition, especially in 2017. The landscape for academic publishing is very different from what it was when FASTR was first introduced, thanks in larger part to nongovernmental funders who already enforce open access mandates. Major foundations like Ford, Gates, and Hewlett have adopted strong open access policies requiring that research be not only available to the public, but also licensed to allow republishing and reuse by anyone.

  • Just last year, the Gates Foundation made headlines when it dropped the embargo period from its policy entirely, requiring that research be published openly immediately. After a brief standoff, major publishers began to accommodate Gates’ requirements. As a result, we finally have public confirmation of what we’ve always known: open access mandates don’t put publishers out of business; they push them to modernize their business models. Imagine how a strong open access mandate for government-funded research—with a requirement that that research be licensed openly—could transform publishing.

    FASTR may not be that law, but it’s a huge step in the right direction, and it’s the best option on the table today. Let’s urge Congress to pass a version of FASTR with an embargo period of six months or less, and then use it as a foundation for stronger open access in the future.

Paul Merrell

White House, Intel Chiefs Want To Make Digital Spying Law Permanent | HuffPost - 0 views

  • The White House and U.S. intelligence chiefs Wednesday backed making permanent a law that allows for the collection of digital communications of foreigners overseas, escalating a fight in Congress over privacy and security.

    The law, enshrined in Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, is due to expire on December 31 unless Congress votes to reauthorize it, but is considered vital by U.S. intelligence agencies.

    Privacy advocates have criticized the law though for allowing the incidental collection of data belonging to millions of Americans without a search warrant.

    The push to make the law permanent may lead to a contentious debate over renewal of Section 702 in Congress, where lawmakers in both parties are deeply divided over whether to adopt transparency and oversight reforms

  • Reuters reported in March that the Trump administration supported renewal of Section 702 without any changes, citing an unnamed White House official, but it was not clear at the time whether it wanted the law made permanent.
Paul Merrell

Internet users raise funds to buy lawmakers' browsing histories in protest | TheHill - 0 views

    • House passes bill undoing Obama internet privacy rule
      House passes bill undoing Obama internet privacy rule
      TheHill.com
      • House passes bill undoing Obama internet privacy rule
        House passes bill undoing Obama internet privacy rule
      • Inform News. Coming Up...
        Inform News. Coming Up...
      • Ed Sheeran responds to his 'baby lookalike'
        Ed Sheeran responds to his 'baby lookalike'
      • Great news! The House just voted to pass SJR34. We will finally be able to buy the browser history of all the Congresspeople who voted to sell our data and privacy without our consent!” he wrote on the fundraising page.

        Another activist from Tennessee has raised more than $152,000 from more than 9,800 people.

        A bill on its way to President Trump’s desk would allow internet service providers (ISPs) to sell users’ data and Web browsing history. It has not taken effect, which means there is no growing history data yet to purchase.

        A Washington Post reporter also wrote it would be possible to buy the data “in theory, but probably not in reality.”

        A former enforcement bureau chief at the Federal Communications Commission told the newspaper that most internet service providers would cover up this information, under their privacy policies. If they did sell any individual's personal data in violation of those policies, a state attorney general could take the ISPs to court.

      Paul Merrell

      A New Era of Mass Surveillance is Emerging Across Europe | Just Security - 0 views

      • The world was a different place when, in October 2015, the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) struck down the “Safe Harbour” data-sharing agreement that allowed the transfer of European citizens’ data to the US. The Court’s decision concluded that the indiscriminate nature of the surveillance programs carried out by U.S. intelligence agencies, exposed two years earlier by NSA-contractor-turned-whistleblower Edward Snowden, had made it impossible to ensure that the personal data of E.U. citizens would be adequately protected when shared with American companies. The ruling thus served to further solidify the long-standing conventional wisdom that Continental Europe is better at protecting privacy than America.

        However, Europe’s ability to continue to take this moral high ground is rapidly declining. In recent months, and in the wake of a series of terrorist attacks across Europe, Germany, France and the United Kingdom — Europe’s biggest superpowers — have passed laws granting their surveillance agencies virtually unfettered power to conduct bulk interception of communications across Europe and beyond, with limited to no effective oversight or procedural safeguards from abuse.

      Paul Merrell

      Shaking My Head - Medium - 0 views

      • Last month, at the request of the Department of Justice, the Courts approved changes to the obscure Rule 41 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure, which governs search and seizure. By the nature of this obscure bureaucratic process, these rules become law unless Congress rejects the changes before December 1, 2016.

        Today I, along with my colleagues Senators Paul from Kentucky, Baldwin from Wisconsin, and Daines and Tester from Montana, am introducing the Stopping Mass Hacking (SMH) Act (bill, summary), a bill to protect millions of law-abiding Americans from a massive expansion of government hacking and surveillance. Join the conversation with #SMHact.

      • For law enforcement to conduct a remote electronic search, they generally need to plant malware in — i.e. hack — a device. These rule changes will allow the government to search millions of computers with the warrant of a single judge. To me, that’s clearly a policy change that’s outside the scope of an “administrative change,” and it is something that Congress should consider. An agency with the record of the Justice Department shouldn’t be able to wave its arms and grant itself entirely new powers.
      • These changes say that if law enforcement doesn’t know where an electronic device is located, a magistrate judge will now have the the authority to issue a warrant to remotely search the device, anywhere in the world. While it may be appropriate to address the issue of allowing a remote electronic search for a device at an unknown location, Congress needs to consider what protections must be in place to protect Americans’ digital security and privacy. This is a new and uncertain area of law, so there needs to be full and careful debate. The ACLU has a thorough discussion of the Fourth Amendment ramifications and the technological questions at issue with these kinds of searches.

        The second part of the change to Rule 41 would give a magistrate judge the authority to issue a single warrant that would authorize the search of an unlimited number — potentially thousands or millions — of devices, located anywhere in the world. These changes would dramatically expand the government’s hacking and surveillance authority. The American public should understand that these changes won’t just affect criminals: computer security experts and civil liberties advocates say the amendments would also dramatically expand the government’s ability to hack the electronic devices of law-abiding Americans if their devices were affected by a computer attack. Devices will be subject to search if their owners were victims of a botnet attack — so the government will be treating victims of hacking the same way they treat the perpetrators.

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      • As the Center on Democracy and Technology has noted, there are approximately 500 million computers that fall under this rule. The public doesn’t know nearly enough about how law enforcement executes these hacks, and what risks these types of searches will pose. By compromising the computer’s system, the search might leave it open to other attackers or damage the computer they are searching.

        Don’t take it from me that this will impact your security, read more from security researchers Steven Bellovin, Matt Blaze and Susan Landau.

        Finally, these changes to Rule 41 would also give some types of electronic searches different, weaker notification requirements than physical searches. Under this new Rule, they are only required to make “reasonable efforts” to notify people that their computers were searched. This raises the possibility of the FBI hacking into a cyber attack victim’s computer and not telling them about it until afterward, if at all.

      Paul Merrell

      In Hearing on Internet Surveillance, Nobody Knows How Many Americans Impacted in Data C... - 0 views

      • The Senate Judiciary Committee held an open hearing today on the FISA Amendments Act, the law that ostensibly authorizes the digital surveillance of hundreds of millions of people both in the United States and around the world. Section 702 of the law, scheduled to expire next year, is designed to allow U.S. intelligence services to collect signals intelligence on foreign targets related to our national security interests. However—thanks to the leaks of many whistleblowers including Edward Snowden, the work of investigative journalists, and statements by public officials—we now know that the FISA Amendments Act has been used to sweep up data on hundreds of millions of people who have no connection to a terrorist investigation, including countless Americans.

        What do we mean by “countless”? As became increasingly clear in the hearing today, the exact number of Americans impacted by this surveillance is unknown. Senator Franken asked the panel of witnesses, “Is it possible for the government to provide an exact count of how many United States persons have been swept up in Section 702 surveillance? And if not the exact count, then what about an estimate?”

      • Elizabeth Goitein, the Brennan Center director whose articulate and thought-provoking testimony was the highlight of the hearing, noted that at this time an exact number would be difficult to provide. However, she asserted that an estimate should be possible for most if not all of the government’s surveillance programs.

        None of the other panel participants—which included David Medine and Rachel Brand of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board as well as Matthew Olsen of IronNet Cybersecurity and attorney Kenneth Wainstein—offered an estimate.

        Today’s hearing reaffirmed that it is not only the American people who are left in the dark about how many people or accounts are impacted by the NSA’s dragnet surveillance of the Internet. Even vital oversight committees in Congress like the Senate Judiciary Committee are left to speculate about just how far-reaching this surveillance is. It's part of the reason why we urged the House Judiciary Committee to demand that the Intelligence Community provide the public with a number. 

      • The lack of information makes rigorous oversight of the programs all but impossible. As Senator Franken put it in the hearing today, “When the public lacks even a rough sense of the scope of the government’s surveillance program, they have no way of knowing if the government is striking the right balance, whether we are safeguarding our national security without trampling on our citizens’ fundamental privacy rights. But the public can’t know if we succeed in striking that balance if they don’t even have the most basic information about our major surveillance programs." 

        Senator Patrick Leahy also questioned the panel about the “minimization procedures” associated with this type of surveillance, the privacy safeguard that is intended to ensure that irrelevant data and data on American citizens is swiftly deleted.

        Senator Leahy asked the panel: “Do you believe the current minimization procedures ensure that data about innocent Americans is deleted? Is that enough?” 

        David Medine, who recently announced his pending retirement from the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, answered unequivocally:

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      • Senator Leahy, they don’t. The minimization procedures call for the deletion of innocent Americans’ information upon discovery to determine whether it has any foreign intelligence value. But what the board’s report found is that in fact information is never deleted. It sits in the databases for 5 years, or sometimes longer. And so the minimization doesn’t really address the privacy concerns of incidentally collected communications—again, where there’s been no warrant at all in the process… In the United States, we simply can’t read people’s emails and listen to their phone calls without court approval, and the same should be true when the government shifts its attention to Americans under this program.

        One of the most startling exchanges from the hearing today came toward the end of the session, when Senator Dianne Feinstein—who also sits on the Intelligence Committee—seemed taken aback by Ms. Goitein’s mention of “backdoor searches.” 

      • Feinstein: Wow, wow. What do you call it? What’s a backdoor search?

        Goitein: Backdoor search is when the FBI or any other agency targets a U.S. person for a search of data that was collected under Section 702, which is supposed to be targeted against foreigners overseas.

        Feinstein: Regardless of the minimization that was properly carried out.

        Goitein: Well the data is searched in its unminimized form. So the FBI gets raw data, the NSA, the CIA get raw data. And they search that raw data using U.S. person identifiers. That’s what I’m referring to as backdoor searches.

        It’s deeply concerning that any member of Congress, much less a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee and the Senate Intelligence Committee, might not be aware of the problem surrounding backdoor searches. In April 2014, the Director of National Intelligence acknowledged the searches of this data, which Senators Ron Wyden and Mark Udall termed “the ‘back-door search’ loophole in section 702.” The public was so incensed that the House of Representatives passed an amendment to that year's defense appropriations bill effectively banning the warrantless backdoor searches. Nonetheless, in the hearing today it seemed like Senator Feinstein might not recognize or appreciate the serious implications of allowing U.S. law enforcement agencies to query the raw data collected through these Internet surveillance programs. Hopefully today’s testimony helped convince the Senator that there is more to this topic than what she’s hearing in jargon-filled classified security briefings.

      •  
        The 4th Amendment: "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and *particularly describing the place to be searched, and the* persons or *things to be seized."*

        So much for the particularized description of the place to be searched and the thngs to be seized.  Fah! Who needs a Constitution, anyway .... 
      Paul Merrell

      After Paris Attacks, French Cops Want to Block Tor and Forbid Free Wi-Fi | Motherboard - 0 views

      • After the recent Paris terror attacks, French law enforcement wants to have several powers added to a proposed law, including the move to forbid and block the use of the Tor anonymity network, according to an internal document from the Ministry of Interior seen by French newspaper Le Monde.

        That document talks about two proposed pieces of legislation, one around the state of emergency, and the other concerning counter-terrorism.

        Regarding the former, French law enforcement wish to “Forbid free and shared wi-fi connections” during a state of emergency. This comes from a police opinion included in the document: the reason being that it is apparently difficult to track individuals who use public wi-fi networks.

        As the latter, law enforcement would like “to block or forbid communications of the Tor network.” The legislation, according to Le Monde, could be presented as early as January 2016.

      Paul Merrell

      Activists send the Senate 6 million faxes to oppose cyber bill - CBS News - 0 views

      • Activists worried about online privacy are sending Congress a message with some old-school technology: They're sending faxes -- more than 6.2 million, they claim -- to express opposition to the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA).

        Why faxes? "Congress is stuck in 1984 and doesn't understand modern technology," according to the campaign Fax Big Brother.

        The week-long campaign was organized by the nonpartisan Electronic Frontier Foundation, the group Access and Fight for the Future, the activist group behind the major Internet protests that helped derail a pair of anti-piracy bills in 2012. It also has the backing of a dozen groups like the ACLU, the American Library Association, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers and others.

      • CISA aims to facilitate information sharing regarding cyberthreats between the government and the private sector. The bill gained more attention following the massive hack in which the records of nearly 22 million people were stolen from government computers.

        "The ability to easily and quickly share cyber attack information, along with ways to counter attacks, is a key method to stop them from happening in the first place," Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-California, who helped introduce CISA, said in a statement after the hack.

        Senate leadership had planned to vote on CISA this week before leaving for its August recess. However, the bill may be sidelined for the time being as the Republican-led Senate puts precedent on a legislative effort to defund Planned Parenthood.

        Even as the bill was put on the backburner, the grassroots campaign to stop it gained steam. Fight for the Future started sending faxes to all 100 Senate offices on Monday, but the campaign really took off after it garnered attention on the website Reddit and on social media.

        The faxed messages are generated by Internet users who visit faxbigbrother.com or stopcyberspying.com -- or who simply send a message via Twitter with the hashtag #faxbigbrother. To send all those faxes, Fight for the Future set up a dedicated server and a dozen phone lines and modems they say are capable of sending tens of thousands of faxes a day.

      • Fight for the Future told CBS News that it has so many faxes queued up at this point, that it may take months for Senate offices to receive them all, though the group is working on scaling up its capability to send them faster. They're also limited by the speed at which Senate offices can receive them.
      •  
        From an Fight For the Future mailing: "Here's the deal: yesterday the Senate delayed its expected vote on CISA, the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act that would let companies share your private information--like emails and medical records--with the government.

        "The delay is good news; but it's a delay, not a victory.

        "We just bought some precious extra time to fight CISA, but we need to use it to go big like we did with SOPA or this bill will still pass. Even if we stop it in September, they'll try again after that.

        "The truth is that right now, things are looking pretty grim. Democrats and Republicans have been holding closed-door meetings to work out a deal to pass CISA quickly when they return from recess.

        "Right before the expected Senate vote on CISA, the Obama Administration endorsed the bill, which means if Congress passes it, the White House will definitely sign it. 

        "We've stalled and delayed CISA and bills like it nearly half a dozen times, but this month could be our last chance to stop it for good."

        See also http://tumblr.fightforthefuture.org/post/125953876003/senate-fails-to-advance-cisa-before-recess-amid (;)
        http://www.cbsnews.com/news/activists-send-the-senate-6-million-faxes-to-oppose-cyber-bill/ (;)
        http://www.npr.org/2015/08/04/429386027/privacy-advocates-to-senate-cyber-security-bill (.)
      Paul Merrell

      Senate majority whip: Cyber bill will have to wait until fall | TheHill - 0 views

      • Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Texas) on Tuesday said the upper chamber is unlikely to move on a stalled cybersecurity bill before the August recess.

        Senate Republican leaders, including Cornyn, had been angling to get the bill — known as the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) — to the floor this month.

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        But Cornyn said that there is simply too much of a time crunch in the remaining legislative days to get to the measure, intended to boost the public-private exchange of data on hackers.  

        “I’m sad to say I don’t think that’s going to happen,” he told reporters off the Senate floor. “The timing of this is unfortunate.”

        “I think we’re just running out time,” he added.

        An aide for Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said he had not committed to a specific schedule after the upper chamber wraps up work in the coming days on a highway funding bill.

        Cornyn said Senate leadership will look to move on the bill sometime after the legislature returns in September from its month-long break.

      • The move would delay yet again what’s expected to be a bruising floor fight about government surveillance and digital privacy rights.

        “[CISA] needs a lot of work,” Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who currently opposes the bill, told The Hill on Tuesday. “And when it comes up, there’s going to have to be a lot of amendments otherwise it won’t pass.”

        Despite industry support, broad bipartisan backing, and potentially even White House support, CISA has been mired in the Senate for months over privacy concerns.

        Civil liberties advocates worry the bill would create another venue for the government’s intelligence wing to collect sensitive data on Americans only months after Congress voted to rein in surveillance powers.

        But industry groups and many lawmakers insist a bolstered data exchange is necessary to better understand and counter the growing cyber threat. Inaction will leave government and commercial networks exposed to increasingly dangerous hackers, they say.

        Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), who has been leading the chorus opposing the bill, rejoiced Tuesday after hearing of the likely delay.

      • “I really want to commend the advocates for the tremendous grassroots effort to highlight the fact that this bill was badly flawed from a privacy standpoint,” he told The Hill.

        Digital rights and privacy groups are blanketing senators’ offices this week with faxes and letters in an attempt to raise awareness of bill’s flaws.

        “Our side has picked up an enormous amount of support,” Wyden said.

        Wyden was the only senator to vote against CISA in the Senate Intelligence Committee. The panel approved the measure in March by a 14-1 vote and it looked like CISA was barrelling toward the Senate floor.

        After the House easily passed its companion pieces of legislation, CISA’s odds only seemed better.

        But the measure got tied up in the vicious debate over the National Security Agency's (NSA) spying powers that played out throughout April and May.

        “It’s like a number of these issues, in the committee the vote was 14-1, everyone says, ‘oh, Ron Wyden opposes another bipartisan bill,’” Wyden said Tuesday. “And I said, ‘People are going to see that this is a badly flawed bill.’”

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      • CISA backers hoped that the ultimate vote to curb the NSA’s surveillance authority might quell some of the privacy fears surrounding CISA, clearing a path to passage. But numerous budget debates and the Iranian nuclear deal have chewed up much of the Senate’s floor time throughout June and July.  

        Following the devastating hacks at the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), Senate Republican leaders tried to jump CISA in the congressional queue by offering its language as an amendment to a defense authorization bill.

        Democrats — including the bill’s original co-sponsor Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) — revolted, angry they could not offer amendments to CISA’s language before it was attached to the defense bill.

        Cornyn on Tuesday chastised Democrats for stalling a bill that many of them favor.

        “As you know, Senate Democrats blocked that before on the defense authorization bill,” Cornyn said. “So we had an opportunity to do it then.”

        Now it’s unclear when the Senate will have another opportunity.

        When it does, however, CISA could have the votes to get through.

      • There will be vocal opposition from senators like Wyden and Leahy, and potentially from anti-surveillance advocates like Sens. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), Mike Lee (R-Utah) and Dean Heller (R-Nev.).

        But finding 40 votes to block the bill completely will be a difficult task.

        Wyden said he wouldn’t “get into speculation” about whether he could gather the support to stop CISA altogether.

        “I’m pleased about the progress that we’ve made,” he said.

      •  
        NSA and crew decide to delay and try later with CISA. The Internet strikes back again.
      Paul Merrell

      CISPA is back! - 0 views

      • OPERATION: Fax Big Brother

        Congress is rushing toward a vote on CISA, the worst spying bill yet. CISA would grant sweeping legal immunity to giant companies like Facebook and Google, allowing them to do almost anything they want with your data. In exchange, they'll share even more of your personal information with the government, all in the name of "cybersecurity." CISA won't stop hackers — Congress is stuck in 1984 and doesn't understand modern technology. So this week we're sending them thousands of faxes — technology that is hopefully old enough for them to understand.

        Stop CISA. Send a fax now!

      • (Any tweet w/ #faxbigbrother will get faxed too!)

        Your email is only shown in your fax to Congress. We won't add you to any mailing lists.

      • CISA: the dirty deal between government and corporate giants.

        It's the dirty deal that lets much of government from the NSA to local police get your private data from your favorite websites and lets them use it without due process.

        The government is proposing a massive bribe—they will give corporations immunity for breaking virtually any law if they do so while providing the NSA, DHS, DEA, and local police surveillance access to everyone's data in exchange for getting away with crimes, like fraud, money laundering, or illegal wiretapping.

        Specifically it incentivizes companies to automatically and simultaneously transfer your data to the DHS, NSA, FBI, and local police with all of your personally-indentifying information by giving companies legal immunity (notwithstanding any law), and on top of that, you can't use the Freedom of Information Act to find out what has been shared.

      • ...1 more annotation...
      • The NSA and members of Congress want to pass a "cybersecurity" bill so badly, they’re using the recent hack of the Office of Personnel Management as justification for bringing CISA back up and rushing it through. In reality, the OPM hack just shows that the government has not been a good steward of sensitive data and they need to institute real security measures to fix their problems. The truth is that CISA could not have prevented the OPM hack, and no Senator could explain how it could have. Congress and the NSA are using irrational hysteria to turn the Internet into a place where the government has overly broad, unchecked powers.

        Why Faxes?

        Since 2012, online and civil liberties groups and 30,000+ sites have driven more than 2.6 million emails and hundreds of thousands of calls, tweets and more to Congress opposing overly broad cybersecurity legislation. Congress has tried to pass CISA in one form or another 4 times, and they were beat back every time by people like you. It's clear Congress is completely out of touch with modern technology, so this week, as Congress rushes toward a vote on CISA, we are going to send them thousands of faxes, a technology from the 1980s that is hopefully antiquated enough for them to understand.

        Sending a fax is super easy — you can use this page to send a fax. Any tweet with the hashtag #faxbigbrother will get turned into a fax to Congress too, so what are you waiting for? Click here to send a fax now!

      Paul Merrell

      Sloppy Cyber Threat Sharing Is Surveillance by Another Name | Just Security - 0 views

      • Imagine you are the target of a phishing attack: Someone sends you an email attachment containing malware. Your email service provider shares the attachment with the government, so that others can configure their computer systems to spot similar attacks. The next day, your provider gets a call. It’s the Department of Homeland Security (DHS), and they’re curious. The malware appears to be from Turkey. Why, DHS wants to know, might someone in Turkey be interested in attacking you? So, would your email company please share all your emails with the government? Knowing more about you, investigators might better understand the attack.

        Normally, your email provider wouldn’t be allowed to give this information over without your consent or a search warrant. But that could soon change. The Senate may soon make another attempt at passing the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, a bill that would waive privacy laws in the name of cybersecurity. In April, the US House of Representatives passed by strong majorities two similar “cyber threat” information sharing bills. These bills grant companies immunity for giving DHS information about network attacks, attackers, and online crimes.

      • Sharing information about security vulnerabilities is a good idea. Shared vulnerability data empowers other system operators to check and see if they, too, have been attacked, and also to guard against being similarly attacked in the future. I’ve spent most of my career fighting for researchers’ rights to share this kind of information against threats from companies that didn’t want their customers to know their products were flawed.

        But, these bills gut legal protections against government fishing expeditions exactly at a time when individuals and Internet companies need privacy laws to get stronger, not weaker. 

      • Worse, the bills aren’t needed. Private companies share threat data with each other, and even with the government, all the time. The threat data that security professionals use to protect networks from future attacks is a far more narrow category of information than those included in the bills being considered by Congress, and will only rarely contain private information.

        And none of the recent cyberattacks — not Sony, not Target, and not the devastating grab of sensitive background check interviews on government employees at the Office of Personnel Management — would have been mitigated by these bills.

      Paul Merrell

      Lawmakers want Internet sites to flag 'terrorist activity' to law enforcement - The Was... - 0 views

      • Social media sites such as Twitter and YouTube would be required to report videos and other content posted by suspected terrorists to federal authorities under legislation approved this past week by the Senate Intelligence Committee.

        The measure, contained in the 2016 intelligence authorization, which still has to be voted on by the full Senate, is an effort to help intelligence and law enforcement officials detect threats from the Islamic State and other terrorist groups.

      •  
        Chipping away at the First Amendment. 
      Paul Merrell

      Rally your friends to support the #USAFreedomAct! - Take Action - Google - 0 views

      • The House of Representatives has passed the USA Freedom Act, which represents a significant down payment on broader government surveillance reform.

        We need as many people as possible speaking up to make sure that the Senate says YES to the USA Freedom Act.

      •  
        I suppose it was too much to hope that Google would do the right thing as called for by nearly all civil liberties organizations and call for sunsetting the Patriot Act. But Google's revolving door with NSA speaks and sides with NSA. Bad Google. Truly evil.   
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