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CISPA Passes US House, Despite Privacy Shortcomings and Promised Veto 231

Posted by timothy
from the in-this-house-we-obey-the-rules-of-panopticon dept.
An anonymous reader writes with a story at the Daily Dot: "Despite the protests of Internet privacy advocates, the controversial Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) passed the House of Representatives Thursday. The vote was 288-127. ... CISPA saw a handful of minor amendments soon before passage. A representative for the EFF told the Daily Dot that while they were still analyzing the specifics, none of the actual changes to the bill addressed their core criticisms. ... But also as was the case the year before, on Tuesday the Obama administration issued a promise to veto the bill if it reaches the president’s desk without significant changes." Techdirt has a short report on the vote, too — and probably more cutting commentary soon to follow.
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CISPA Passes US House, Despite Privacy Shortcomings and Promised Veto

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  • Veto ??? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by retech (1228598) on Thursday April 18, 2013 @01:24PM (#43485181)
    I doubt, sincerely, that he'll veto this. Talk and actions are entirely different things. And he's got just as much ass to kiss as anyone else. He'll spin it just like everything else and say: "We're going to keep an eye on this...." Just like he's done before. But, once it's law no eyeball watching will do a damn thing to stop the ball from rolling.
    • Re:Veto ??? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by MyFirstNameIsPaul (1552283) <myfirstnameispaul@gmail.com> on Thursday April 18, 2013 @01:32PM (#43485279) Homepage Journal
      He also said he would veto the NDAA. When it comes to power of the police state, no publicly elected official who matters is opposed.
    • Re:Veto ??? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by fustakrakich (1673220) on Thursday April 18, 2013 @01:33PM (#43485283) Journal

      Yeah, his record on kept promises is pretty dismal, not that it really matters. Nobody cares enough to vote the Party out of power.

      • Re:Veto ??? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Genda (560240) <(mariet) (at) (got.net)> on Thursday April 18, 2013 @01:55PM (#43485535) Journal

        I find myself at an impasse. I can vote for the party that makes the right promises then doesn't keep them, or the party that makes all the wrong promises and does keep them. This leaves me vacillating between futile hope and grotesque masochism. Where are the guys that make the RIGHT promises and keep them? Where are they hiding those guys? Oh! Right. I forgot. You can't buy the right guys. Therefore you can't sell them to the public.

        • Re:Veto ??? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by thomasw_lrd (1203850) on Thursday April 18, 2013 @02:03PM (#43485665)

          The right people can be voted in to power, but you have to start at the local level and you have to keep up a running dialogue with them. You also have to spend your time, your money, and your energy to make sure they get elected. That's the problem with the American political system, the people are too lazy to do anything, but complain.

          • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            You also have to spend your time, your money, and your energy to make sure they get elected.

            That's a feature, not a bug. "A republic, if you can keep it"

            That's the problem with the American political system, the people are too lazy to do anything, but complain.

            No, that's a problem with people.

          • That's the problem with the American political system, the people are too lazy to do anything, but complain.

            Once elected, they don't care about you or your complaints, only power and $$$ from their corporate overlords.

            That's the problem with the American political system
            • I would like to disagree with you, one of my senators is a democrat and he voted against the amendments yesterday this was a direct result of a concerted effort to contact him and let him know where his constituents stood. But it could've been NRA money that changed his mind. Only time will tell.

            • Re:Veto ??? (Score:5, Interesting)

              by tlhIngan (30335) <.slashdot. .at. .worf.net.> on Thursday April 18, 2013 @02:52PM (#43486243)

              That's the problem with the American political system, the people are too lazy to do anything, but complain.

                Once elected, they don't care about you or your complaints, only power and $$$ from their corporate overlords.

                That's the problem with the American political system

              Perhaps the best way is these days, to follow the constitution. 1 representative per 30,000 people.

              It's doable these days - you don't have to fit all 10,000 reps in one building - we have telecommuting, after all.

              This has enormous implications.

              First, pay will have to be cut dramatically - I believe the original founding fathers expected politicians to sacrifice themselves for political life. We can easily do this by making their pay equal to the median of the people they represent (not the average).

              Second, corporate influence has just gone down significantly. When you have a company spending $1B on campaign contributions, that's rougly $2M per representive right now. With 10,000 of them, that's $100K apiece, or just over $3 per person they're representing. Companies wanting to buy laws suddenly have to pay a whole lot o more money. And the amount can actually be raised by individuals in the community.

              Third, more local representation - because they're going to represent a smaller slice of the population, so it's a lot easier to actually see what people in the community want. And with lowered pay, they get to see the same problems everyone else in the community has.

              Fourth, less whipping possible - you try keeping the entire party in line - if we assume half and half, you try keeping 5,000 people in line - it's a lot harder.

              • by Mitreya (579078)

                First, pay will have to be cut dramatically - I believe the original founding fathers expected politicians to sacrifice themselves for political life.

                This is not nearly as clever as it seems.
                Frankly, it may be a good investment to do the exact opposite and increase the pay of congressmen. It would be a couple hundred million well spent, because I think some of them have to look for handouts for relative necessities (e.g. simply to maintain a 2nd house in DC).

              • by daveime (1253762)
                Wow, American logic at it's finest !

                Companies wanting to buy laws suddenly have to pay a whole lot o more money. And the amount can actually be raised by individuals in the community.

                So that's your grand solution to corporate bribery of politicians ? Make them cheaper to bribe, so everyone can do it ?

              • Re:Veto ??? (Score:5, Insightful)

                by Princeofcups (150855) <john@princeofcups.com> on Thursday April 18, 2013 @05:18PM (#43487587) Homepage

                Perhaps the best way is these days, to follow the constitution. 1 representative per 30,000 people.

                It's doable these days - you don't have to fit all 10,000 reps in one building - we have telecommuting, after all.

                This has enormous implications.

                First, pay will have to be cut dramatically - I believe the original founding fathers expected politicians to sacrifice themselves for political life. We can easily do this by making their pay equal to the median of the people they represent (not the average).

                The problem is that the early politicians were mostly independently wealthy. Remember where they came from. They were a bunch of high ranking Masonic idealists who had a personal interest in making their new country work. Where can you find such idealists these days? That is, who are competent and willing to dedicate their lives? I'm not seeing ANY hands raised in this crowd.

                Second, corporate influence has just gone down significantly. When you have a company spending $1B on campaign contributions, that's rougly $2M per representive right now. With 10,000 of them, that's $100K apiece, or just over $3 per person they're representing. Companies wanting to buy laws suddenly have to pay a whole lot o more money. And the amount can actually be raised by individuals in the community.

                The amount of money is not the problem. It's the fact that it's business as usual for the politicians. You don't get elected without the help of the rich and wealthy. They will make sure that their people are the ones who win the elections. So they need more lower paid flunkies. How does that solve anything.

                Third, more local representation - because they're going to represent a smaller slice of the population, so it's a lot easier to actually see what people in the community want. And with lowered pay, they get to see the same problems everyone else in the community has.

                Fourth, less whipping possible - you try keeping the entire party in line - if we assume half and half, you try keeping 5,000 people in line - it's a lot harder.

                Nor does that solve anything. Every small community has their own agenda, and with all of them arguing over who's priorities are important, we'll get even less done.

                No, the problem is that there is no longer any sense of work or sacrifice of personal comfort for the common good. We are a country of "us" verses "them" in everything that we do. Everything is competition, and nothing is cooperation. Hell, how many people here are big on free market competition? As long as everyone fights to can change the system so that they can personally benefit, be it through lucrative middle class tech jobs or whatever, then it will always be "us against them."

                All that we can do at this point is slow the decline of this once (arguably) great nation and avoid total collapse in our lifetimes. The parallels between the US and the last days or Rome are not just a cliche. I personally find it more interesting to think about what we can form out of the rubble when we start to rebuild. How should we do it differently next time? The US system was a great improvement on the parliamentary monarchy. We saw communism torn down through corruption even faster than our system. Where did we go wrong? How did the sociopathic assholes take over, and how do we avoid that? Dunno, but food for thought.

            • Right. A communistic oligarchy would be much better. You design it.
          • Re:Veto ??? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Joce640k (829181) on Thursday April 18, 2013 @02:18PM (#43485861) Homepage

            That's the problem with the American political system, the people are too lazy to do anything, but complain.

            Do you have any idea of the personal time and energy needed to change things?

            The rich people/corporations can pay somebody else to do it for them. The guy in the street can't. Hence the system.

            (Robert Heinlein's "Take Back Your Government" is basically this).

            • I hadn't heard of that one from Heinlein, I'll have to read it.

              I agree that its a time consuming effort, but it has to start somewhere.

            • Do you have any idea of the personal time and energy needed to change things? The rich people/corporations can pay somebody else to do it for them. The guy in the street can't.

              The rich people/corporations only can do so because most guys in the street think that their vote won't change anything. The representatives do still, for the time being, need to actually get votes to get into office.

              Special interests win against the interest of the majority only when the majority doesn't bother opposing them, either due to apathy, ignorance, or fear. This is true in any government system. Even military dictatorships fail when most of the citizens decide they'd actually oppose the gov

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by femtobyte (710429)

                I think the problem is larger and more systematic than you make out. Citizen "apathy, ignorance, and fear" isn't created in a vacuum from the personal character flaws of individual citizens. These are shaped by the pervasive propaganda influence that a wealthy ruling class can wield over the entire citizenry --- an art refined to a science over the past century. When every news channel, every radio station, every newspaper and magazine advocates on behalf of the ruling class (even while providing the appear

          • by alexo (9335)

            The right people can be voted in to power, but you have to start at the local level and you have to keep up a running dialogue with them. You also have to spend your time, your money, and your energy to make sure they get elected.

            And once they do get elected they immediately do an about-face and turn into "the wrong people".

            • Re:Veto ??? (Score:4, Insightful)

              by s.petry (762400) on Thursday April 18, 2013 @03:20PM (#43486513)

              So you are obviously not voting the right people into office. It's like picking potential wives at the bar, then expecting them to A) Not go to bars, and B) stop drinking, after you get married. If you want a person to stay at home and not drink, you probably won't find her at a bar.

              Unfortunately many people lack the ability to see things rationally. I blame our education system personally, as the citizen's education must follow rules imposed by the Government.

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by alexo (9335)

                So you are obviously not voting the right people into office.

                Obviously, since a person fit to govern will not want to.

        • Re:Veto ??? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Thursday April 18, 2013 @02:40PM (#43486131)

          Where are the guys that make the RIGHT promises and keep them?

          https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Third_party_(United_States) [wikipedia.org]

        • The guys who make the right promises, and keep them, are too smart to go into politics in the first place.

          If you're a good guy, you get drummed out of that game long before you get to national prominence; good guys don't win against mudslinging liars in the political game.

        • Republicans voted 196-29 in favor, while Democrats voted 98-92 opposed [house.gov]. But just remember, kids, There's No Difference Between The Parties(tm).

        • I find myself at an impasse. I can vote for the party that makes the right promises then doesn't keep them, or the party that makes all the wrong promises and does keep them.

          There is a third option, you know: Realizing that electing a leader is not a binary decision. Oh, but let me guess at the response: "Voting third parties is a wasted vote!" Yea, so long as they keep you thinking that way, it will be.

          Ever wonder who really won WWII? Joseph Goebbels, [wikipedia.org] that's who.

        • Re:Veto ??? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by cffrost (885375) on Thursday April 18, 2013 @04:11PM (#43486997) Homepage

          I find myself at an impasse. I can vote for the party that makes the right promises then doesn't keep them, or the party that makes all the wrong promises and does keep them. This leaves me vacillating between futile hope and grotesque masochism.

          That's a false dilemma. Voting for Democrat/Republican is not your only choice. Keep voting for liars, thieves and sociopaths, and that's what you'll always wind up with.

          Where are the guys that make the RIGHT promises and keep them? Where are they hiding those guys?

          In the third parties. They might not win, but you'll maintain whatever integrity you have, and you'll send an important message.

          Oh! Right. I forgot. You can't buy the right guys. Therefore you can't sell them to the public.

          If they're on the ballot, you can vote for them — spread the word.

        • by bdwebb (985489)
          There aren't only two parties to choose from. They are all politicians and they are on their own side. The people of our country base their political opinions on partisan media sources that tell them what they want to hear or antiquated family indoctrinations into the 'side that doesn't lie to you' but ultimately we are kept so divided by this idiocy that we can't find a middle-ground ANYWHERE.

          Every intelligent, responsible individual in this country should register non-partisan and make their own deci
      • by nametaken (610866)

        I wouldn't be surprised if this gets used as a modest, but entirely negotiable bartering chip towards gun banning, since all of those bills recently failed.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Trepidity (597)

      It also got more than a 2/3 majority [house.gov], so it's not clear a veto would even matter. Though it's possible that some of the "yes" Dem votes here would change to "no" if Obama vetoed it, to avoid overriding a president from their party.

      • Re:Veto ??? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by MachineShedFred (621896) on Thursday April 18, 2013 @02:45PM (#43486175) Journal

        The Senate would also need a vote of 67 "yea" tallies to override a veto. They can't even get 60 votes on a lunch order, much less a veto override - and this is also considering that the majority of the Senate is the same political party as the President.

        A veto would stick.

      • by tlambert (566799)

        It also got more than a 2/3 majority [house.gov], so it's not clear a veto would even matter. Though it's possible that some of the "yes" Dem votes here would change to "no" if Obama vetoed it, to avoid overriding a president from their party.

        In his two terms as president, Obama has vetoed bills presented to him exactly twice. Assuming he actually vetoes the thing, the requirement fter it being returned to the originating house of Congress requires a re-vote with a 2/3 majority of both houses. This rarely happens, and typically only has happened for 4% of vetoes. Note that he hasn't use a pocket veto for either instance in the past. I'm pretty positive that he hasn't had opportunity to pocket veto for bills he wants to make "go away", since

    • by dmitrygr (736758)
      And this is why I support the right to arm bears... A couple of well-armed bears in DC will set this all straight...
  • by l0ungeb0y (442022) on Thursday April 18, 2013 @01:25PM (#43485191) Homepage Journal

    Amazing to see a Bill that does an end run around the Constitution by allowing a contract (a software ToS Agreement") have the full force of law with FEDERAL CRIMINAL PENALTY.

    It doesn't matter if this passes or not. The message is clear enough: The rights and liberties of US citizens are forfeit and we shall be placed under the dominion of the Corporations.

    Other bills will come later when this doesn't pass, and more after that until the Corporations get what they are paying for -- full control and domain over the citizens of the US and the ability to place any arbitrary rule of law upon them that they see fit and to have the US Gov't be little more than the zealous enforcer of those arbitrary laws.

    I think we need this. Maybe then this country will become so incensed as to violently take down a government so corrupt and out of control that no other means exist to change it and start again -- learning from our mistakes. Or maybe the people will become even more apathetic than they are now and just lay down and submit.

    Either way -- major changes are coming for the people of the US, and none of them good.

    • by Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) on Thursday April 18, 2013 @01:46PM (#43485455)

      Look on the bright side - cyberpunk is cool and now we get to live in it! Mirrorshades and mullets baby.

    • by phdscam (2901299)
      US used to be LOT better in terms of civil rights. Gradual erosion is a pain to watch.
      • by Genda (560240) <(mariet) (at) (got.net)> on Thursday April 18, 2013 @02:01PM (#43485619) Journal

        Gradual erosion? Hell, thermonuclear incineration is more like it. It took 200 years to make a social form that was the envy of the planet. It took 30 years to turn it into a corporate toilet. In the last ten, its looking like an SR-70 in a full powered dive. I'm just waiting to see Chuck Yeagers smiling face commenting "Nice Auger Job Rooky."

      • by gmanterry (1141623) on Thursday April 18, 2013 @03:32PM (#43486645) Journal

        US used to be LOT better in terms of civil rights. Gradual erosion is a pain to watch.

        I'm in my 70s. When my generation dies (soon), there will be no one left who really know the wonderful freedoms we experienced in this country when I was young. The problem with our dying freedoms are two fold, as I see it. Too damned many people on this earth. We have become a virus and will eventually destroy ourselves by sheer numbers. Second is that we have allowed companies to grow way, way, too large. We used to have anti trust laws which prevented one company from taking over. Now we have huge banks that are allowed to buy up all their competition except the last one. They then become too large to fail and the government protects them. When I was young banks thanked you for letting them use your money. Now they try to find ways to screw you out of it. I still have a Morgan silver dollar a bank gave me when I opened a savings account with a dollar. Net cost to me $0.00. We have shitty cell phone providers and banks who rape us because there is no competition. Capitalism works when there is competition. The disregard for anti trust has led us into these times where the corporations have become so powerful that they can, and do, buy and own our government. You and I are useful to the politicians only as a means to get into office. After that we are no longer important to them and they immediately start selling their souls to the corporations who will give them suitcases of money. Look at all the politicians who have been in government for a decade or more, all of them are wealthy. Every politician should serve two terms. One in office and one in prison. Crooks 95% of them. We are able to influence them with mass protests only because they want to retain that golden seat in government and they are afraid that if they defy too many of us they will be returned to the status of ordinary citizen... like us.

    • How is his corporations' fault? It's good old government normality: Trying to void rights, and the same way Hitler did, by appealing to emergency needs.

      All the corporations did was, reasonably, seek legal protection for governments abusing this power.

      The correct solution is to forbid government this power to begin with. That, more than anything else, is the core teaching of the US Constitution.

      • by BlueStrat (756137) on Thursday April 18, 2013 @03:31PM (#43486621)

        The correct solution is to forbid government this power to begin with. That, more than anything else, is the core teaching of the US Constitution.

        It amazes me how many here buy into the propaganda that anyone who desires that the government obey the US Constitution's limits to the government's scope and powers is somehow an "extremist".

        For those confused, let me put the basic idea of the Constitution into different terms.

        The US Constitution is the design for a distributed network.

        It's a network of power, no different in basic principles to a computer network. The Constitution lays out the basis for a distributed network, with self-checking and redundancy built into the design. The purpose of the design is to distribute political power and it's exercise rather than concentrate it centrally, as basic network security principles assert that a distributed network is much harder to globally (in a systems sense) corrupt than simply compromising a single point of control.

        Too much power has been concentrated in one place (the Federal government) over the last 100 years or so and therefor various interests fight for control, as it gives them a way to change things across the entire nation. If power were more distributed, it would be orders of magnitude more difficult and expensive to enact nationwide corrupt laws/policies/etc. Why would some special interest try to bribe/corrupt a member or branch/agency/dept. of the federal government if they don't have the power to do what they want in the first place?

        Seriously, I don't understand how so many Slashdotters who in other threads show the ability to understand and point out similar flaws in complex computer and network security systems totally fail to grasp, or dismiss out of hand, the above concepts when applied to networks/systems of political power and the exercise thereof.

        This should not be rocket surgery for a bunch of card-carrying Slashdot nerds and geeks, unless they've sold their geek cards to emotional rather than logical identity politics and class warfare, and abandoned logic and intellectual honesty to join in succumbing to emotional mob-mentality political/ideological mass-manipulation.

        The authors of the US Constitution were genius systems engineers who were far ahead of their time. From many comments I read almost daily, I suspect they remain far ahead of many in this "modern" age as well, including many if not most of the leaders of both political parties and our elected & unelected officials in the Federal Government.

        Strat

        • by ATMAvatar (648864) on Thursday April 18, 2013 @06:54PM (#43488237) Journal

          The authors of the US Constitution were genius systems engineers who were far ahead of their time. From many comments I read almost daily, I suspect they remain far ahead of many in this "modern" age as well, including many if not most of the leaders of both political parties and our elected & unelected officials in the Federal Government.

          But alas, they failed to check for security holes in the design. Political parties and lobbyists have done an end-run around most of the checks built into the system.

        • "This should not be rocket surgery for a bunch of card-carrying Slashdot nerds and geeks, unless they've sold their geek cards to emotional rather than logical identity politics and class warfare, and abandoned logic and intellectual honesty"

          Anyone who DOESN'T believe in class warefare HAS lost their logic and intellectual honesty. My god, you are one of the historically illiterate people here. People had to fight for social security and the eight hour work day. It wasn't just handed to them by the glori

    • by gmuslera (3436) on Thursday April 18, 2013 @01:56PM (#43485543) Homepage Journal

      It won't change. There is no space for a change in the trend when the most of the places for coordinate them (or that could disclose that it is happening) are under tight surveillance, and the remaining free/secure spaces are becoming outlawed. And most people are not aware or not care that they traded freedom for relative safety (at least until is their turn [wikipedia.org]), they think they have a democracy in US, but it's just Lesterland [ted.com]

      What worries me is how all of this spills over all the rest of the world. If you think US care little about the right of their citizens, you should see how just not care at all [pitchinteractive.com] about others.

    • by lorenlal (164133)

      Fortunately, Mr. Rogers was able to make this a complete scumbag deal by putting him and his wife in a position to profit by it becoming law:

      http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130417/16253022748/oh-look-rep-mike-rogers-wife-stands-to-benefit-greatly-cispa-passing.shtml [techdirt.com]

    • by boorack (1345877)

      I think we need this. Maybe then this country will become so incensed as to violently take down a government so corrupt and out of control that no other means exist to change it and start again -- learning from our mistakes. Or maybe the people will become even more apathetic than they are now and just lay down and submit.

      I beg to differ. At a point where most of people will want to take down government violently, you'll have fully armed drones ("Obama Drones") flying over US bombing anyone your lovely coporations want to be eliminated. Your lovely corporate media will spew lies justifying killing or will orchestrate media blackout, so no one will know about this. Pretty much like in Pakistan today. If you think that your psychopatic corporate overlords see any difference between killing US citizens and some brown people in

    • by daveime (1253762)

      Amazing to see a Bill that does an end run around the Constitution by allowing a contract (a software ToS Agreement") have the full force of law with FEDERAL CRIMINAL PENALTY.

      Then don't fucking click "I Agree" if you don't agree ! How simple is that ? No one is forcing you to accept the ToS.

      The sooner people start voting with their wallets rather than using their asses from brains, the sooner you'll get what you want.

  • 90% (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MickyTheIdiot (1032226) on Thursday April 18, 2013 @01:25PM (#43485199) Homepage Journal

    90% was the percentage of the American people that thought reasonable background checks should have been passed.

    Put aside what you think about that sort of thing and ask yourself... is this the way things are supposed to work? We live a country that is supposed to be ruled by the majority (through elected officials) with respect to the rights of the minority. The legislation respected the right of the minority and then some.

    The Congress is completely unhinged. They don't represent constituencies, they represent lobbyist dollars. And we see it again with CISPA.

    • Re:90% (Score:5, Informative)

      by sohmc (595388) on Thursday April 18, 2013 @01:34PM (#43485299) Journal

      The problem of ruling by the majority is that minority interests get overlooked (see gay marriage).

      The system we have in place currently is *SUPPOSED* to balance the will of the people (via election) and the morality of the elected (via legislature).

      But you are still right that we have moved passed this. The sad thing is we deserve the government we vote for. Congress has a 95% re-election rate while having a 10% approval rating. Everyone hates what Congress has become, but everyone also things it's not their reps fault.

      The only way to fix this is if EVERYONE votes out their representative, regardless of their party affiliation. We need fresh blood in there. Some of those reps won't leave until they either resign or die in office.

      • The US is not rule by majority, it's rule by majority with respect to minority rights. I stated that quite clearly in my post.

        Secondly, I agree with the decades old problem of "my rep is fine, yours suck." I personally don't fall into that trap (My Rep sucks and Coats, one of the biggest corporate shills alive, is one of my Senators), but I realize how people do fall into it. Everyone needs to vote out their reps across the board, and that's not a partisan thing.

      • Re:90% (Score:4, Interesting)

        by GodfatherofSoul (174979) on Thursday April 18, 2013 @02:13PM (#43485801)

        That's a bit simplistic. If the system stays the same, the next guy in will vote the same way. We have to get corporate money out of DC AND campaigns. When politicians are no longer beholded to them to get reelected, they won't be subservient anymore.

        • by Applekid (993327)

          That's a bit simplistic. If the system stays the same, the next guy in will vote the same way. We have to get corporate money out of DC AND campaigns. When politicians are no longer beholded to them to get reelected, they won't be subservient anymore.

          The checks and balances are to blame, too. The Supreme Court has been declining to hear cases that are paramount to our liberties protected in the Constitution, and the cases they do hear are most often split down conservative/liberal lines instead of what the law actually is. The system can't possibly work when 1/3 are corrupt, 1/3 is a megalomaniac, and 1/3 is phoning it in. I'll leave it to you to decide which branch is which.

      • by femtobyte (710429)

        The problem of ruling by the majority is that minority interests get overlooked (see gay marriage).

        OK; let's consider gay marriage. Marriage equality is being won in places where popular majority sentiment sides with it. I don't see cases where the tiny electoral class boldly stands up and says "well, I know 70% of our constituents are bigots, but we won't tolerate them oppressing the ~10% of society who are gay." In other words, minority interests are overlooked in either case; it still took popular majorities (not high-principled elected representatives standing against the ignorant masses) to make cha

    • Re:90% (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday April 18, 2013 @01:36PM (#43485317)

      Except you're wrong about the US being "Majority Rule".

      We are a Republic, and our representatives have a responsibility to ensure than legislation conforms to the Constitution (not that they actually DO do this, just saying what they're supposed to do). They, in fact, have a responsibility to NOT vote in conformance with the wishes of the public when the public is straight up =wrong=.

      Granted, there is absolutely a lot of corruption, but you are very, very mistaken that they should vote according to the public majority polls.

      • Quote from my message...

        > We live a country that is supposed to be ruled by the majority (through elected officials) with respect to the rights of the minority.

        Repeating for emphasis with added bold...

        > We live a country that is supposed to be ruled by the majority (through elected officials) with respect to the rights of the minority.

        • No offense intended, but you are off topic here. The article is about CISPA -- something that a majority would not want (assuming you could make them aware of it). Your shouting about not compromising the rights of the minority is superfluous in this context. Maybe if your comment was placed under an article where a minority of people were having their rights violated by a new law, it might be salient, but it's not with regards to this article.

          • by daveime (1253762)

            something that a majority would not want

            And you know this how ? Because a handful of alarmists on Slashdot and Reddit told you so ? That's called confirmation bias, and bears no resemblance to reality.

    • We have too many people in each district. Thirty-Thousand.org [thirty-thousand.org], while they have an ancient website, does a great job explaining how the framers did not want more than 50,000 people per district. Though more focused on California, Project Represent Me [projectrepresentme.com] does a great job at explaining the concept and why it is central to a representative democracy.
      • by moeinvt (851793)

        If we had only 50K people in a district, there would be over 6000 people in the House of Reps.

        What we need is a small federal government that exercises only its specifically delegated powers, with ALL other powers being reserved to the states or to the people. You could keep districts small for the state legislatures. I wouldn't want any more A$$#0!Z in DC than we already have.

        • You must separate government from governance. With little representation, as we have now, we have representatives who do whatever they want with little to fear because the bar to enter office is so high. By substantially reducing this bar, the competition for entering office heats up dramatically, and at a certain level, becomes available to almost anyone. At that point, which I believe is 30,000 people, the governance of our government will be such that trillions of dollars would be cut from the budget. So

    • Re:90% (Score:4, Insightful)

      by GameboyRMH (1153867) <gameboyrmh@gmaiWELTYl.com minus author> on Thursday April 18, 2013 @01:47PM (#43485457) Journal

      That's a republic for you, the majority doesn't have full control, elected representatives do. If they then tell the majority to fuck off and choose to enrich and empower themselves instead, and this cycle repeats forever, welp...???

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      90% was the percentage of the American people that thought reasonable background checks should have been passed.

      Umm, no.

      90%+ was the percentage of people polled in Pennsylvania that agreed that "requiring background checks for all gun buyers" was a good idea.

      It was also the percentage of people polled in New Jersey and Virginia that agreed that "requiring background checks on people buying guns at gun shows".

      Neither of which the bill in question did. It insisted on doing bunches of other things.

      Note a

      • I don't know what the sampling methodology was, but it's usually pretty reliable. The figure I saw was 88% as of 2 weeks ago.

        • by Applekid (993327)

          I don't know what the sampling methodology was, but it's usually pretty reliable. The figure I saw was 88% as of 2 weeks ago.

          Then you don't know if it's bullshit. If I'm going to toss statistics around I want to be sure I'm not spreading lies, but that's just me. It's certainly feasible for someone with an axe to grind to simply not care.

    • Re:90% (Score:4, Interesting)

      by tnk1 (899206) on Thursday April 18, 2013 @01:50PM (#43485493)

      Assuming that like 94.6% of the statistics out there the 90% number isn't fudged in some way, I agree that this seems off. Although, I should point out, we were very consciously made a representative democracy and not a direct one by the founders. One of the expected outcomes is that the representatives could ignore the immediate feelings of the population, becoming accountable for their actions only as a whole at election time.

      My guess is that 90% favor those checks, but not close to that many actually strongly support them. In other words, a bunch of people think it is okay to do it, but don't really care. For my part, I have no real issue with background checks per se, but I also don't see how they would have stopped any of these issues. While they *might* have dinged Lanza on mental illness, and I doubt that because he wasn't previously violent, many people who use legal firearms to kill people would easily have passed a background check of any reasonable intensity. Anyone who would not have passed the check likely knows how to get a gun from their criminal connections, or would have just stolen one.

      So ultimately, while I think that background checks are probably fine, and I would probably be counted in the 90%, they really don't concern me all that much. More to the point, they still ignore the mental health issues that cause these problems to begin with. In that way, I was sad to see that the issue was predictably turned into a gun control issue and this went down predictable lines. I think a lot of energy was basically wasted in turning this into a campaign to finally break the back of the NRA, which makes it even worse now that even that appears to have failed.

    • You are misreading that poll. 90% of Americans support reasonable background checks. A significant portion of that 90% think that we already have reasonable background checks.
  • Since the gun background check bill died because it was believed it create a registry of gun owners (it didn't), since CISPA *CAN* create a registry of gun owners, it should be easily defeated in the Senate.

    • by CrimsonAvenger (580665) on Thursday April 18, 2013 @01:42PM (#43485403)

      Since the gun background check bill died because it was believed it create a registry of gun owners (it didn't)

      No, it died because it was believed that it MIGHT BE USED to create a gun owner database.

      Interestingly, where they could have put a clause in saying "It shall be unlawful to use NCIS transactions to assemble a database of gun owners", they instead put in the rather more weaselly "this law shall not be construed as allowing a database of gun owners".

      Note that there is a semantic difference between "I forbid you to do this" and "I do not give you permission to do this".

      Note also that the original NCIS law didn't allow such a database to be constructed, but BATF had to be recalibrated on the issue several times, since they kept right on trying to do it by various means.

      Also, did you actually READ that thing?? Lending my .30-06 to my best friend for a hunting trip would be a felony, but giving it to one of my wife's cousins (whom I've never met) would be perfectly fine?! And this makes sense to whom, exactly?

      • by Applekid (993327)

        Since the gun background check bill died because it was believed it create a registry of gun owners (it didn't)

        No, it died because it was believed that it MIGHT BE USED to create a gun owner database.

        I'd love to figure out how they can enforce universal background checks without a database. At some point in a criminal investigation, they're going to have to check if (gun->currentOwner() == gun->backgroundCheckedOwner())....

  • Not surprised... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Republicans would see the U.S changed into a society where the rich and powerful are immune to laws and everyone else is subject to monitoring 24 hours a day.

    • by Minwee (522556)

      Republicans would see the U.S changed into a society where the rich and powerful are immune to laws

      Ironically, such a country already exists. It's called Russia.

    • CISPA was co-sponsored by my asshole Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger (Democrat from Maryland's 2nd District). If you think this is a partisan bill please tell me how it passed with a 2/3 majority and almost 50% of the Democrats in the House supporting it.

      Enough with the R versus D nonsense already . . . this is direct evidence that both parties fucking hate your privacy.

  • by nimbius (983462) on Thursday April 18, 2013 @01:39PM (#43485363) Homepage
    congress and senate are bayesian in nature. surely a theoretical mapping could get us a future bill that does what we want, and gets passed:
    cyber: 2.0
    Protection 2.0
    Intelligence: 2.0
    (gun|assault|weapon|magazine|clip) + ban: -2.0
    terror: 5.0
    freedom: 5.0
    healthcare: -4.0
    immigration: -2.0
    reform: 2.0
    and just for good measure, a few tags that appear to have some effect on the tracking and analysis process:
    X-Voted-On-Before: y/n
    X-Fillibstr?: y/n
    Pander:1/0
  • On the other hand (Score:4, Interesting)

    by DadLeopard (1290796) on Thursday April 18, 2013 @01:40PM (#43485377)
    I think one of the reasons it did get as many votes as it did was the fact that the President promised to veto it! This way they can have their cake and eat it too!
    • by moeinvt (851793)

      Unfortunately, the bill got 288 votes with 10 abstentions. They would only need 290 to get the 2/3 majority required to override a veto. I think We, The People have lost another round to the feds.

      • There's still a need of 60 Senators to vote for cloture, then 51 to vote to pass, then if it's veto'd, it would need 67 Senators to vote for it again, with any Democrat openly and publicly showing the President (and leader of the Democratic Party) the finger.

        Not going to happen, if it's actually veto'd.

    • Not sure about that. What cake are we talking about? Incumbents aren't going to be voted out due to this regardless of whether it passes or not. Voters will forget and/or make excuses rather than voting for someone who respects our rights in the primaries and probably the general election as well.

      "We have no real choice!" Well, perhaps that is because no one votes for the choices that do come up in the primaries.

      "Well I didn't hear about those guys running on a platform of repeal CISPA, the ME
      • Common game in DC. If the vote is settled, unscrupulous Congressmen will vote in the most politically beneficial way. Parties are often a "party" to it as well. If the whip knows he's got enough votes, he'll allow a Congressman with a contentious reelection campaign to vote the way that will help him get reelected.

  • So, let me get this straight... Just because I feel like I'm living is bizarro world, where left is right, up is down and evil is good.

    If this were to be signed into law, there would be more legal restrictions regarding what you can post on the internet than restrictions regarding background checks, how many bullets you can spray across a crowd per second, and how many pieces of high-end military hardware you can own... fur duck huntin'.

    But buying a car requires a credit check at least, buying a ton of fert

    • Well, there are already background checks for firearm sales through dealers (just not gun shows or private sales), it's very illegal to "spray" even one bullet "across a crowd" as this is called Attempted Murder, and depending on your definition of "high-end military hardware" that is already highly regulated by the National Firearms Act of 1945.

      Your point?

      • Excuse me, the NFA was enacted in 1934.

        And you can buy a car through a private party without the credit check too.

      • by CrimsonAvenger (580665) on Thursday April 18, 2013 @05:29PM (#43487649)

        there are already background checks for firearm sales through dealers (just not gun shows or private sales)

        Not quite correct.

        When you go to a gunshow to buy a gun, the seller (if he's a dealer) has to do the same background check he'd do in his regular shop.

        The so-called "gunshow loophole" is that you can buy a gun from a private citizen at a gunshow without a background check. Which you can do without going to a gunshow too - yes, it's legal for me to sell one of my guns to someone without running a background check.

  • by mbstone (457308) on Thursday April 18, 2013 @02:30PM (#43486025)

    I looked in vain for something to mod up.

    Nearly all discussion here is about the much-hyped topic of corporations possibly turning over private data on consumers to the gubmint in the name of cyber security.

    While this may or may not be of concern, most of CISPA is an update to FISMA, the law that mandates how federal government information systems are acquired and what security measures are to be implemented.

    So far zero on-topic discussion here.

  • That was a veto-proof margin: more than 2:1. If that happens in the Senate too, then it does not matter what the president thinks.

  • by Freddybear (1805256) on Thursday April 18, 2013 @03:05PM (#43486383)

    http://reporting.sunlightfoundation.com/2013/pro-cispa-backers-spend-over-100-times-more-lobbying-opponents/ [sunlightfoundation.com]

      Interests supporting a controversial bill aimed at improving cyber security, set for a House vote Thursday, spent 140 times as much lobbying Congress as those on the other side of the debate and have dozens of former Capitol Hill insiders working on their behalf, an analysis by the Sunlight Foundation's Reporting Group shows.

    Sunlight's review of lobbying disclosures from the last session of Congress in Influence Explorer shows that backers of the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act had $605 million in lobbying expenditures from 2011 through the third quarter of last year compared to $4.3 million spent by opponents of the bill. While it's impossible to say how many of those dollars were devoted to trying to influence votes on the CISPA bill (many of those entities have multiple interests before Congress), it provides some measure of the lopsidedness of the resources available to each side.

    Here are the lobbying totals for supporters: https://data.sunlightlabs.com/dataset/Lobbying-totals-by-CISPA-proponents/5brg-ruk9 [sunlightlabs.com]

    and opponents: https://data.sunlightlabs.com/dataset/Lobbying-totals-by-CISPA-opponents/jhe8-cki6 [sunlightlabs.com]

  • Obama says he'll veto it. House is Republican controlled and they probably voted against it simply because Obama is for it. Sometimes the reasoning (albeit very stupid) is sometimes pretty obvious.

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