Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Charlie Hebdo Fallout in America

Charlie Hebdo Fallout in America

by Stephen Lendman

Civil liberties in America and Europe are gravely threatened. Already seriously eroded. 

A previous article warned of more to come following last week's Paris killings.

A mid-February White House summit will be held on Countering Violent Extremism. Expect repressive legislation to follow.

Other likely policy initiatives. Ones inimical to free society norms and standards. Growing tyranny fast replacing them.

MSM reports say little. Only that Western officials want tighter border controls. Cooperation on tracking down nationals heading to Syria and Iraq.

Combating radicalized Islamic online propaganda and recruitment. Attorney General Eric Holder stressed new measures needed to "protect the values that truly unite us."

White House press secretary Josh Earnest highlighted new efforts required to stop extremists from "radicalizing, recruiting and inspiring others."

Civil liberties again are under attack. Perhaps en route to eliminating them altogether. In the name of over-hyped security.

Crammed down our throats irresponsibly. Waging all-out war on freedom. Based on invented threats. Ignoring real ones.

State terrorism writ large. Police state lawlessness. Protecting capital from beneficial social change. 

Making the world safe for monied interests. At the expense of fundamental human and civil rights. 

Things free societies hold most dear. Along with peace and stability. Governments of, by and for everyone equitably and fairly.

Absent in Western countries. Expect lots worse ahead. In Europe and America. On January 13, a White House press secretary announcement headlined:

"SECURING CYBERSPACE - President Obama Announces New Cybersecurity Legislative Proposal and Other Cybersecurity Efforts."

CISPA is back. More on this below. Obama saying through his press secretary:

"(O)ur first order of business is making sure that we do everything to harden sites and prevent…attacks from taking place."

Obama intends asking Congress for legislation permitting "information-sharing." Claiming it'll enhance cybersecurity.

The failed 2011 Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) never went away.

It's more about destroying personal freedom than online security. Giving government and corporate giants unlimited power to access personal/privileged information online. 

Directly assaulting civil liberties. Anything online can erroneously be called cybersecurity threats. Real or imagined.

Invented to hype fear. So-called "information sharing" threatens constitutional protections. Including free expression, assembly, association and privacy. 

By accessing personal communications. Other private information. Giving Big Brother more power than already. Legitimizing what demands rejection.

In February 2013, Obama's executive order on "improving critical infrastructure cybersecurity'" said threats continue to grow. National security challenges must be met.

"It is the policy of the United States to enhance the security and resilience of the Nation's critical infrastructure and to maintain a cyber environment that encourages efficiency, innovation, and economic prosperity while promoting safety, security, business confidentiality, privacy, and civil liberties." 

"We can achieve these goals through a partnership with the owners and operators of critical infrastructure to improve cybersecurity information sharing and collaboratively develop and implement risk-based standards."

At the time, civil libertarians expressed outrage. The ACLU said CISPA "fails to protect privacy."

It lets "companies share sensitive and personal American internet data with the government, including the National Security Agency and other military agencies."

"CISPA does not require companies to make reasonable efforts to protect their customers’ privacy and then allows the government to use that data for undefined 'national-security' purposes and without any minimization procedures, which have been in effect in other security statutes for decades." 

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) called CISPA deeply flawed. Letting companies share private information with government agencies flies in the face of fundamental freedom.

The Project on Freedom, Security & Technology at the Center for Democracy & Technology warned of creating a cybersecurity "back door intelligence surveillance program run by a military entity with little transparency or public accountability." 

EFF commented on Obama's new cybersecurity proposal. Legitimate protections are needed, it said. Ones conforming to the letter and spirit of fundamental rule of law principles.

"But President Obama's cybersecurity legislative proposal recycles old ideas," said EFF.

Around since 2011. On the shelf ready to be reformulated. Repackaged. Reintroduced.

Compromising consumer protections. Potentially violating state data breach laws.  

Overreaching national security concerns and law enforcement measures "poses a serious risk," said EFF. Irresponsibly compromising personal information.

Obama's proposal if adopted will legitimize the illegitimate. EFF expressed concern about enacting measures inimical to personal freedom.

"Instead of proposing unnecessary computer security information sharing bills, we should tackle the low-hanging fruit," said EFF. 

"This includes strengthening the current information sharing hubs and encouraging companies to use them immediately after discovering a threat."

Information can be shared through existing Information and Analysis Centers (ISACs).

Public reports. Homeland Security's Enhanced Cybersecurity Services. According to EFF:

"(T)hese institutions represent robust information sharing hubs that are underutilized and underresourced."

Increasing Computer Fraud and Abuse Act penalties assures further civil liberty erosionsc.

Surveillance already is all pervasive. Obama's legislative proposal follows his announcement to pursue federal data breach laws.

"Consumers have a right to know when their data is exposed, whether through corporate misconduct, malicious hackers, or under other circumstances," said EFF. 

Over 38 states already have some form of breach notification law…" Most Americans are already protected. 

Details of Obama's proposal aren't known. HIs May 2011 cybersecurity legislative proposal preempts state notification laws.

Overrides California's strong standard. Replacing it with a weaker one. 

Risks becoming "a backdoor for weakening transparency or state power, including the power of state attorneys general and other non-federal authorities to enforce breach notification laws," said EFF.

Obama's proposal looks like recycled old policies. EFF urges viewing them "skeptically."

"As with any (proposed) legislation, the devil is in the details." EFF will keep monitoring what's ongoing. Updated reports will follow.

At stake are fundamental civil liberties. It bears repeating. They're fast disappearing. Gravely compromised already. 

En route to being eliminated altogether. Unless public outrage stops what no free societies accept.

Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. 

His new book as editor and contributor is titled "Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III."

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com. 

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