How Lawmakers Use Scary Words To Rush Legislation

Lawmakers seems to believe that if you put the term "Cyber" together with scary terms like "war," "terror," and "security" that you can get the power you need to pass bills and enable new powers for the government. The same tactics were employed quite unsuccessfully with SOPA and PIPA, bills that used words like "theft," "copyright infringement," "piracy," and "counterfeiting" to fight against supposed international crime. 

ACTA used some of those same terms, and threw "counterfeit or illegal pharmaceutical drugs" to scare people. Ultimately the world has seen through most of that stuff, but CISPA and the Cyber Security Act of 2012 still haven't been fully revealed for what they truly are: a power grab by the government to regulate the Internet with the aid of corporations giving them unprecedented access to your personal online activities without any kind of due process under the law and taking away the ability for you to take any legal action against those corporations that cooperate with the government or law enforcement.

And SOPA, PIPA, ACTA, CISPA, and CSA share one other thing: the lawmakers that try to ram them trough the legislative process always claim that there is some sort of grave danger waiting in the wings and that these new powers are needed ASAP.

As TechDirt points out in this article all of this urgency is purely political. Jim Harper of the Cato Institute sums up the whole situation on CISPA and the CSA in this article nicely. Here's what he says about the use of strong scary words to whip the populace into a fearful lather:


The likelihood of attacks having extraordinary consequences is low. This talk of “cyberwar” and “cyberterror” is the ugly poetry of budget-building in Washington, D.C. But watch out for U.S. cyberbellicosity coming home to roost. The threat environment is developing in response to U.S. aggression.

This parallels the United States’ use of nuclear weapons, which made “the bomb” (Dmitri) an essential tool of world power. Rightly or wrongly, the United States’ use of the bomb spurred the nuclear arms race and triggered nuclear proliferation challenges that continue today. (To repeat: Cyberattacks can have nothing like the consequence of nuclear weapons.)


All of this would be amusing if not for the fact that the Senate version of CISPA (CSA) will probably be coming up for a vote soon in the Senate. House Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has promised a vote before July, hearing the desperate cries of the hawkish Joe Lieberman. If all goes Lieberman's way the bill would pass and then would be reconciled with CISPA, which passed the House earlier this year. That monstrosity could end up being on the President's desk sometime in the summer.

You can provide lawmakers that represent you with some scary terms to combat this like "I am a registered voter who votes," "I am paying attention to what you are doing in Washington" and "I oppose CISPA and the CSA." You can get started on that here.

Source: TechDirt. Image provided by Shutterstock.


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