Two bills that were passed through the United States House of Representatives this week are of interest to the Asylum. The House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence’s Protecting Cyber Networks Act as well as the House Homeland Security Committee’s National Cybersecurity Protection Advancement Act will be “conferenced” to create one bill and then on its way to the Senate for pushing there.
On Wednesday, April 22, 2015, The House Of Representatives voted 307-116 to usher through the Protecting Cyber Networks Act. According to Andy Greenberg at the WIRED, the bill is “designed to allow more fluid sharing of cybersecurity threat data between corporations and government agencies”. A part of this bill is the ability of Corporations to share private data from their users with government agencies such as the NSA.
The bill concerns me from a Black Media perspective, given the overwhelming amount of online usage of Blacks in the United States and their often uncritical assessment of the company’s they provide data to via the applications they use. The Pew Research Centers’ findings based on a study with an overall sample size of 6,010 US adults, and containing 664 who identified as African American shows that at least 73% of those reported using online social networks such as Twitter. Another aspect of the bill alarms me as well. The information shared does not have to be solely cybersecurity.
The bill provides for the surveillance of violent crimes which allows the state to extend its already over-the-top usage of video recording device throughout the land. Given the history of Law Enforcement to withhold evidence of this sort in crimes they commit, I am awfully worried that suppression will continue to occur if corporate bodies and companies are in bed with the state. It should be no alarm, however, that the Obama Administration has publicly supported the PCNA as well as its Senate counterpart, the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation considers the bills,”surveillance bills in disguise,” and a body of over 50 other privacy watchdog groups are suspicious because “data shared through the government could be exempt from disclosure under the Freedom of Information Act”. While reading through the initial paragraphs of the summay of the bill, it is definitely difficult to overlook the langauge of corporate protection. The text speaks much more of protecting corporations than the People’s privacy. Which makes sense, those it targets are not corporations, rich and wealthy hegemons, but regular people who see those agencies as threats if just not marks. Pretty much the same way the corporations view the People.