Vol: 139 Issue: 23 Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Yesterday the House of Representatives agreed in a largely partisan vote (248-168) to pass the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, known by its acronym, CISPA.
The vote was originally scheduled for today and was widely expected (by the tech industry) to fail, but after a whack of last minute amendments, it was deemed ready to go early and put to a vote.
Obama hates it and has threatened a veto if it makes it through the Senate.
In a statement issued Wednesday afternoon, the Executive Office of the President expressed concern over the lack of privacy safeguards in the CISPA bill and said it “strongly opposes” H.R. 3523 as written.
“H.R. 3523 effectively treats domestic cybersecurity as an intelligence activity and thus, significantly departs from longstanding efforts to treat the Internet and cyberspace as civilian spheres,” the statement read. If the bill was presented to the President, “his senior advisors would recommend that he veto the bill.”
Critics of CISPA (and there are many on both sides of the aisle) charge that CISPA is just a repackaging of the failed Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) which was primarily a Hollywood-backed effort to force ISPs to become copyright enforcement agents.
SOPA would have criminalized most online activity. Everything from downloading a song to cutting and pasting an interesting article into a forum post to uploading a video of yourself singing karaoke would be a crime.
Critics said that an earlier version of CISPA was a stalking horse for the copyright industry — they worried that companies would dress up anti-piracy initiatives as security complaints. New language makes this unlikely and emphasizes that the bill is about cyber-security.
The amendments include one that would narrow the definition of the information that can be collected and shared with the government. Another prohibits the bill to be used for monitoring copyright and intellectual property violations. A third would require an annual review of how shared information is used by the NSA and other agencies.
Government agencies and a number of major US companies have suffered hacking attacks in which intruders have stolen classified information, military and trade secrets, credit card data and so forth –much of which ended up on the web.
(I was notified that my own credit card turned up on the web after Anonymous hacked Stratfor and posted subscriber’s credit card information online. Somebody had used it to make a $1 donation to the Red Cross to make sure the card was valid, which alerted the credit card company.)
CISPA was written to address these kinds of attacks, the bill’s supporters say, by sharing information between companies and the government. (This is where I start to get a little paranoid.)
In theory, it will be easier for the government to warn companies about security threats. In turn, the companies will have more ability to alert the government about suspicious activities or attacks.
In theory. But it has been my experience that even the best theories fail to take into account the Law of Unintended Consequences. CISPA undertakes to update existing laws, like the National Security Act of 1947, the Wiretap Act and the Electronic Communications Privacy Act.
The Electronic Communications Privacy Act limits what private companies can do with your information. In practice, what CISPA does is shield companies from getting sued for passing your information around. That’s why companies like Google, Amazon, Facebook and Netflix (all of whom are fighting privacy lawsuits now) all love CISPA.
Critics say that H.R. 3523 will allow websites to share users’ personal information with the federal government in the name of cyber security, with no judicial oversight.
It would authorize internet providers, social networking sites, and other websites that store personal information to monitor users’ personal emails for the vague purpose of “protecting the rights and property” of the provider.
Under CISPA, the government can even scoop your library card records to find out what kind of subversive literature you might be reading to determine if you are one of those “end of the world” nuts.
The American Library Association warns, “This bill would trump all current privacy laws including the forty-eight state library record confidentiality laws as well as the federal Electronic Communications Privacy Act, the Wiretap Act, the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, and the Privacy Act.”
CISPA would let Internet companies monitor and collect any user information they think poses a threat to their networks or systems. The bill would also let these companies share the collected information with the NSA and other federal agencies. Companies that share such information would enjoy a high degree of legal immunity for their actions.
Back around the time that former NSA Director Sandy Berger was stealing documents from the National Archives, there was a graphic circulating the net depicting the NSA logo and the slogan, “The NSA. We read your email, so you don’t have to.”
It was a joke then. Now it isn’t so funny.
The Bible reveals that the antichrist’s system of government rests on three separate pillars; his control of a combined system of government, economy and religion.
I often refer to these systems as “global” systems, but that isn’t entirely accurate. The Bible just as clearly reveals that the world is, at that time, divided into four spheres of influence, much as it exists today.
The Bible links the antichrist with Europe and the West. According to Daniel 9:26 the antichrist is a prince of the people that destroyed Jerusalem and the Temple in AD 70. That was accomplished under Titus of Rome on behalf of the Roman (Western) Empire.
The Bible says that the antichrist assumes responsibility for Israel’s defense from the three other spheres of global power in existence during the Tribulation (and already in existence today.)
One is the Gog-Magog alliance between Russia, Iran and the various non-Arab Muslim countries of the East prophesied by the Prophet Ezekiel. The second is the two hundred million strong army of the Kings of the East. The third sphere of power is represented by the king of the South.
But the antichrist will control the fourth and most powerful government, located in the West. And that is the government that Bible prophecy puts the greatest focus on, since it is representative of world-wide Christendom.
Under the antichrist, the economy is apparently entirely digital, since the Bible says that he will be able to restrict who can buy and who can sell from a central location.
Those that are not members of his system and do not display his “mark” will be declared “socially dead” and unable to engage in normal social intercourse.
What I want you to see this morning is how these systems are ALL coming together before our very eyes. The details are fuzzy — the Bible’s script is filled with symbols and generalities — but the trends are clear and unmistakable.
First comes the restoration of Israel (1948). Then the revival of the Roman Empire, (Benelux Treaty 1948), the creation of a global economic system (GATT Treaty 1948) and finally, a global religious system masquerading as Christianity (World Council of Churches 1948).
But their final forms are somewhat unclear, since Scripture was so written as to make sense to every generation. Not to mention the difficulties involved for the writers of Scripture trying to describe 21st century images using 1st century vocabularies.
But the Bible does say that all these things will come together in a single generation, somewhere in time, and from that point forward, all would develop until the Big Picture would reveal itself.
CISPA isn’t the final form of anything. But it is trending exactly as one would expect if the end result was to be a centrally controlled system capable of monitoring and identifying every single person and controlling their ability to buy or sell, based on their politics.
Because that is what the Lord told us to look for. Not the final form. That won’t come until after the Rapture. The Lord said to look for the trends.
The Lord never told the Church to be on the look-out for the antichrist. He never provided us with any clues to his identity. I quote this verse a lot, but read it again with new eyes. . .
“And when these things begin to come to pass, then look up, and lift up your heads; for your redemption draweth nigh.” (Luke 21:28)
What direction does CISPA take us? Can you think of ANYTHING that is trending the other way?
Amazing, ain’t it?
Note: Shortly after the original publication of this brief on April 27, 2012 the Senate ultimately voted down CISPA. Last week, the bill again made it through the House of Representatives with slight modifications but those campaigning against it say the modifications do not go nearly far enough. Hundreds of websites went black in protest at the controversial CISPA bill but the protest lacked the big names of previous actions and is said to have failed.
Today’s Featured Commentary: A Tale of Two Sinners