Saturday, April 19, 2014
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Policías en el teclado

NUEVA YORK – Casi nadie leyó la Ley de Intercambio y Protección de Información de Inteligencia Cibernética o Ley CISPA (Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act) antes de que sea considerada de manera apurada en la Cámara de Representantes de los Estados Unidos a finales de abril y sea enviada al Senado. CISPA es la sucesora de la Ley SOPA, el proyecto de ley “anti-piratería” que fue recientemente derrotado después de una fuerte protesta pública de ciudadanos y empresas de Internet. La ley SOPA, conceptualizada por sus proponentes con la finalidad de proteger a la industria del entretenimiento de los Estados Unido evitando robos, hubiese atado las manos de proveedores de contenido y de usuarios, y hubiese dado lugar a la proliferación de imitaciones de dicha legislación a lo largo y ancho de todo el mundo, desde Canadá y el Reino Unido hasta Israel y Australia.

Ahora, con CISPA, la represión de la libertad en Internet viene disfrazada de un proyecto de ley dirigido a luchar contra el terrorismo cibernético, dicho proyecto debería causar a los empresarios de Internet – y a todos los líderes empresariales – pesadillas. Y, sin embargo, en esta ocasión, las empresas más importantes de Internet y tecnología, inclusive Facebook y Microsoft, apoyaron el proyecto de ley, bajo el argumento de que dicha ley crearía un procedimiento claro para tramitar las solicitudes de información del gobierno. Microsoft, al menos, de manera tardía retiró su apoyo después de reconocer que la ley permitiría que el gobierno de los EE.UU. obligue a cualquier empresa de Internet a entregar información sobre las actividades en línea de sus usuarios.

Pero, el proyecto de ley presenta peligros que son aún mucho más alarmantes que los ya mencionados. Por ejemplo, “el jefe de un departamento o de una agencia del gobierno federal que recibe información sobre una amenaza cibernética... deberá proporcionar información sobre dicha amenaza cibernética al Centro para la Ciberseguridad Nacional e Integración de Comunicaciones del Departamento de Seguridad Nacional”. No es necesario que se haya realizado una amenaza real. Además, lo que se considera como “información sobre una amenaza” se define de manera tan amplia que puede significar cualquier cosa. “Independientemente de toda otra disposición legal”, el gobierno puede basarse en “los sistemas de ciberseguridad para identificar y obtener información sobre una amenaza cibernética”.

El vago concepto de “información sobre una amenaza cibernética” no sólo permite que el Departamento de Seguridad Nacional investigue a cualquier persona. Al incluir información concerniente a “una vulnerabilidad de un sistema o de una red de un gobierno o de una entidad privada”, y a “a un robo o a una apropiación indebida de información privada o del gobierno, de propiedad intelectual, o de información personal identificable”, el proyecto de ley parece estar dirigido a poner en la mira a los denunciantes e informantes de irregularidades, y a atentar contra el periodismo de investigación.

El respetado sitio de tecnología de Internet Techdirt ha llamado al proyecto de ley una “locura” (“insanity”): “CISPA ya no se puede llamar, de ninguna manera, un proyecto de ley de ciberseguridad. El gobierno obtendría la capacidad de buscar información… con fines de investigar a ciudadanos estadounidenses, dicha investigación se llevaría a cabo con total inmunidad frente a las disposiciones que protegen la privacidad, siempre y cuando se pueda aducir que alguien perpetró un ‘crimen de ciberseguridad’”.

En efecto, el Departamento de Seguridad Nacional puede revisar los datos transmitidos vía Internet sin restricciones, sin importar lo que llegue a encontrar en última instancia. Y, en este sentido, los líderes empresariales que creen que este proyecto de ley tiene como objetivo a los terroristas – o “a lo sumo” a los activistas y documentalistas nacionales quienes pueden dificultar las operaciones que ellos realizan – deben tener cuidado con lo que desean.

De hecho, debido a que la definición de ciberterrorismo es tan amplia y subjetiva, los líderes empresariales estadounidenses que apoyan el proyecto de ley CISPA toman el riesgo de exponerse ante el poder que obtendría el Departamento de Seguridad Nacional para escudriñar su vida personal, emitir emplazamientos para obtener sus registros bancarios, y para perturbar sus comunicaciones electrónicas. Y, la ley otorgaría al Departamento de Seguridad Nacional un control similar sobre las vidas personales y financieras de cualquier persona que hace negocios en los Estados Unidos o con empresas estadounidenses – un poder que el gobierno de los Estados Unidos ya ha intentado hacer vale al emitir un emplazamiento para que se le entregue los registros bancarios personales de la legisladora islandesa Birgitta Jonsdottir.

Todas las personas tienen secretos: aventuras amorosas, problemas de abuso de sustancias, diagnósticos relacionados con su salud mental, preferencias sexuales heterodoxas, o charlas cuestionables con sus contadores. En una sociedad civil fuerte, esto asuntos personales se mantienen privados, como es lo correcto. En una sociedad vigilada, dichos asuntos se convierten en ventajas estratégicas.

Tengo miedo de los impactos que causaría la vigilancia doméstica sin restricciones, por razones específicas: he trabajado en dos campañas presidenciales estadounidenses, y vi de primera mano las tácticas habituales – tácticas no violentas, pero aún así con inclinaciones mafiosas – de los altos ámbitos políticos. No escaseaba la vigilancia y el espionaje telefónico que eran contratados de manera privada. De forma rutinaria, las campañas introducían a espías – pasantes, personal doméstico, o incluso amantes – en el campo adversario, y dedicaban un gran número de horas-hombre al escrutinio detallado de registros privados para investigar a sus contrincantes. Habitualmente, los resultados de estas investigaciones se usaban detrás de bambalinas para amedrentar, intimidar, y coaccionar a las personas que estaban en la mira.

La mayoría de estos “escándalos” nunca salieron a la luz pública – el objetivo no era develarlos, sino ejercer presión. CISPA otorgaría el mismo poder al Departamento de Seguridad Nacional. Los líderes empresariales de Estados Unidos pueden pensar que se encuentran inmunes, pero la definición del proyecto de ley de lo que es una “amenaza” es tan vaga – no distingue entre lo que es una “amenaza” a Internet y cualquier “amenaza” al azar, incluso metafórica, en Internet – que el Departamento de Seguridad Nacional pueden seguirle el rastro a cualquier persona que dice algo que fastidia a alguien que está en un cubículo.

Si CISPA se convierte en ley de los Estados Unidos, colocándose a lado de la recientemente promulgada Ley de Autorización de la Defensa Nacional (National Defense Authorization Act) – que le da al gobierno el poder de detener, por siempre, a cualquier estadounidense por cualquier cosa – las libertades civiles fundamentales se verán amenazadas, en una forma que ninguna democracia puede tolerar. Y, debido a que gran parte de la libertad en Internet alrededor de todo el mundo se deriva de la libertad de expresión que hasta hace poco caracterizaba a los Estados Unidos, la promulgación de CISPA plantea una amenaza similar en todo el mundo.

La buena noticia es que el presidente Barack Obama ha prometido vetar CISPA. La mala noticia es que él hizo una promesa similar – y posteriormente la rompió – con relación a la Ley de la Autorización de Defensa Nacional.
Traducido del inglés por Rocío L. Barrientos.

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  1. CommentedBill Giltner

    Here's an RSS feed link (it will only work in a feed reader) to show news (ongoing) on this topic.
    http://www.google.com/alerts/feeds/02989051451297184226/1334195944300383981

  2. Commented Elizabeth Pula

    Well, I'm awfully fearful too. Websites aren't even a breath away of getting shutdown based on any kind of accusation by any "top dog" anywhere any day. How can any "entrepreneur" or "small fry" operate on the internet with the very real threat that is alluded to here in the Digital Trends article about one site, and apparently quite a few others in the holding tank:"Obviously, this case shows that the 2008 PRO-IP Act, which established the government’s right to seize domains, is broken. As it currently stands, the government is able to shut down a website without having a scrap of evidence that the site’s owners or operators did anything wrong.
    To date, ICE has seized some 750 domains as part of Operation in Our Sites. The U.S. government maintains that it has the right to seize any domain ending in .com, .net, or .org, regardless of whether those sites are hosted or run outside the U.S.
    View all the Dajaz1 documents here". (I sure hope it's ok to quote information from the internet. Am I at risk of getting thrown in jail for posting content on a blog site?)"

    This article doesn't even refer to activity that is any kind of "threat". This article just refers to a report of "possible copyright infringement" without even any evidence of any infringement of anything. Hey, can any Joe-the-plumber accuse FOX of and get the FOX site shut down for a year??? Who/what is threatening who/what?
    Read more: http://www.digitaltrends.com/web/feds-held-seized-website-dajaz1-com-for-a-year-without-proof-of-copyright-infringement/#ixzz1u1JiRVcj

    1. Commented Elizabeth Pula

      Here's something that real, and really scary: I think this eff.org quote is really important: "ICE didn’t provide any additional details to Dajaz1 or its users, nor did it ever press criminal charges, file a complaint, or give the site operators the opportunity to contest the seizure. Instead, the ICE lawyers told Dajaz1’s lawyers that it had obtained a series of secret extensions. Because they were kept secret, Dajaz1 had no way to challenge them. ICE finally released the domain name in December of 2011, again with no explanation. The entire court record for the case remained under seal for nearly a year and a half, leaving the government’s rationale for the seizure and for censoring the blog for a year an open question."

  3. Commented Elizabeth Pula

    Well, whaddyaknow, even without CISPA,and not much of any cause to shutdown a site- Here's the latest on the fantasy of present day internet rights:http://www.digitaltrends.com/web/feds-held-seized-website-dajaz1-com-for-a-year-without-proof-of-copyright-infringement/

  4. Commented Elizabeth Pula

    Your article is very good by identifying that the “issue” is “ unrestrained domestic surveillance”. I have read the proposed legislation.
    Some other most crucial issues are:
    1. Any citizen has absolutely no access to any information based on any activity by any approved corporation that acts for or with the Federal government agencies as authorized by the DHS. All activity is exempt from the Freedom of Information Act.
    2. Any citizen affected on any level, because of any surveillance or after effects of any surveillance, or use or misuse of any information from any surveillance, has absolutely no legal process on any level, state or federal. This proposal states specifically that any activity is exempt from any other law.
    3. What is most crucial is that this proposed law supersedes any state law. The proposal possibly ends any possibility of any state legislation affecting the internet at all. This is most critical because this is a very sneaky under-the-table way to outmaneuver present FCC(right or wrong) authority, and present limits to a sort of free access status to the internet. Even though it is not, and will never be free access, if commerce is to be “allowed” on local levels, local community, and state rights need to be discussed. This proposal also can eliminate any possibility of drastically essentially needed debate about state rights VS. federal rights about basic internet access, legislation, and especially local access for e-commerce. The electronic media is the E-COMMERCE storefront for all individual citizens. It is essential that local community, county and state legislation domain controls and limits be debated. The issue of “freedom of the press” and any rights to free commercial pursuits starting at the local level must be examined to maintain individual commercial, and individual constitutional rights through e-commerce. State control over internet commerce can actually create revenue streams starting at the local level and eliminate many aspects of the imbalance that has developed by a few internet corporate monopolies.
    4. The members of the House that have proposed and voted for this legislation are in fact not representing the citizens of their individual states. The members of the House are in fact trying to take away in a very sneaky and underhanded way, state and individual citizen rights. The members of the House that proposed and voted for this legislation are in fact just using their positions as politicians and are only looking for personal and short term personal profits. The members of the House of representatives should be concerned at their group effort to negate state rights as state legislation can effectively be the means to regain local economic dominance that is necessary to re-establish profits and local US market dominance that is crucially needed to re-balance the US economy. Perhaps the members of the House of Representatives that proposed and voted for this legislation need to be outsourced to another continent. Their positions really are no longer necessary. Individual citizens can easily vote directly and immediately on any necessary proposals using electronic technology most effectively. The House and Senate positions are really redundant positions. Volunteers could easily perform media presentations via local community centers. The Federal Budget could be most effectively cut, and cut drastically, if all salaries for the redundant Congressional positions are eliminated and replaced by local community volunteers, rotating on some regular interval. State referendums could actually allow for major changes in Congress, and individual states, local communities and individual citizens could actually profit, and keep the profits locally and tremendously.

  5. CommentedShan Jun Chang

    The US has ratified the International Covenenant on Civil and Political Rights, of which this legislation surely constitues a violation, so I suppose technically individuals could make submissions to the Human Rights Committee about this. However, it seems to make a point of avoiding direct criticism of UN member states, let alone Security Council members. What I don't understand is surely laws that permit arbitrary arrest and detention and invasion of privacy without reasonable cause for suspicion are unconstitutional?

  6. CommentedAdam Mcmahon

    One of the main things that put the USA over any other country was the fact that it was free. The first amendment allows citizens to voice what they will, we saw that get demolished with the new law of "distrubing the peace". Yes, you have the freedom to say what you will in your city park, but you are disturbing the peace, so you will be arrested.

    I see SOPA and now CISPA as just another joke on the American Line Card. How can a country that is so "free" try to control its citzens so much?

    I say this with comfort of living just north of the border, but I'm worried for the future.... How long until the USA is enforcing its own national laws on the rest of the world?

    The new America is becoming the land of "what if's"

  7. CommentedKonrad Kerridge

    So how is the US different from China when it comes to monitoring and criminalizing its citizens and those of other nations? Perhaps in one way. The US spends a lot more money on building the security apparatus of a security state.

    Whereas China is primarily concerned with development... to deliver wealth, and uses security to maintain stability to achieve its primary purpose of development.....

    ....For the US, being a security state is its primary purpose, since perversely a security state is viewed as a synonym for "the land of the free". Just as early American settlers were often persecuted religious extremists from Europe who fled to form the land of the free in America, contemporary Americans are once again being persecuted and threatened. This time by islamist terror (amongst another dozen things on which the government or opposition has declared war....communism, socialism, European social democracy, drugs, axes of evil, basically anyone or thing that threatens Christian conservatism etc).

    The sense of persecution and paranoia that Americans feel, and which feeds their need for outlandish national security spending and over the top constraints on freedom, has deep roots. And is not going away in my opinion.

    1. CommentedFling Flong

      Konrad: I think your basic premise of comparing the US to China is a good one and correct in many ways. The more you know about China, the closer the two appear. Not only in terms of their security apparatuses and citizen monitoring, but also in terms of their a-moral world views and political structures (the sooner people recognize that there is no material difference between Bush, Obama and Romney, that Congress is a ruber-stamp and that the judiciary is not impartial and independent, the better).

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