Tag Archives: Big Sis

Big Sis in Hot Water?

Kaye Beach

Oct. 4, 2012

The scathing US Senate report released early this week is 141 pages of fascinating reading but it could cause a real confidence crisis for those who still think that trading liberty for security is a decent bargain.

Besides the fact that the Dept. of Homeland Security doesn’t know exactly how much it has given to states and cities for the Fusion Centers or how that money was spent, the Secretary of DHS, Janet Napolitano dubbed “Big Sis” by Matt Drudge, also has trouble getting her facts straight.

Fusion Centers have been at the center of many, many civil liberty scandals since they were created and a wide swath of concerned or active Americans from right to left have found themselves lumped in with or labeled as “extremists” at some point or another by the dubious ‘intelligence’ that the spy centers produce.  I hope they are all enjoying the fact that the Centers and Big Sis herself, are getting a little, long overdue scrutiny but also hope that they take this report to their state legislators and demand that the “pools of ineptitude and civil liberties intrusions” in their states be examined just as closely.

Report: Napolitano misled Congress on terrorism ‘fusion’ centers

Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano repeatedly misled lawmakers about one of her department’s signature initiatives, the development of special centers where state and local police could share information about terrorism and other crimes with their federal counterparts, a bipartisan report from the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations states.

Ms. Napolitano failed to report to Congress serious problems with the so-called “fusion center” program, according to the report. She insisted publicly that the program was a success, but two reports from her own department found, what congressman called, “serious problems” with the fusion centers.

“The findings of both the 2010 and 2011 assessments contradict public statements by [Homeland Security] officials” including congressional testimony from Ms. Napolitano, the report states.

Investigators also found that Ms. Napolitano and other officials repeatedly claimed there were 72 fusion centers around the country, when internal documents revealed that there were only 68.


Insanity: CISPA Just Got Way Worse, And Then Passed On Rushed Vote

Kaye Beach

April 26, 2012

Lankford, Cole Sullivan, Boren, and Lukas all voted for HR 3523. Roll Call

There were 6 Amendments offered in the name of improve privacy protections and some were adopted before final passage of the bill today.   (See below)

As Techdirt points out, some amendments did nothing to improve the bill at all from a privacy perspective.

Summary of Amendments to HR 3523

Techdirt’s take on it;

from the this-is-crazy dept

Up until this afternoon, the final vote on CISPA was supposed to be tomorrow. Then, abruptly, it was moved up today—and the House voted in favor of its passage with a vote of 248-168. But that’s not even the worst part.

The vote followed the debate on amendments, several of which were passed. Among them was an absolutely terrible change (pdf and embedded below—scroll to amendment #6) to the definition of what the government can do with shared information, put forth by Rep. Quayle. Astonishingly, it was described as limiting the government’s power, even though it in fact expands it by adding more items to the list of acceptable purposes for which shared information can be used. Even more astonishingly, it passed with a near-unanimous vote. The CISPA that was just approved by the House is much worse than the CISPA being discussed as recently as this morning.

Previously, CISPA allowed the government to use information for “cybersecurity” or “national security” purposes. Those purposes have not been limited or removed. Instead, three more valid uses have been added: investigation and prosecution of cybersecurity crime, protection of individuals, and protection of children. Cybersecurity crime is defined as any crime involving network disruption or hacking, plus any violation of the CFAA.

Read more

Here is one bit of good news-The Big Sis Amendment Failed!

Homeland Security Internet monitoring dropped from CISPA

Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, a Democrat, withdraws her amendment to CISPA that would give Homeland Security more Internet-monitoring authority — after CISPA’s author dubbed it “Big Brother.”


The Obama administration, meanwhile, wants Homeland Security Department in charge of domestic cybersecurity, but criticizes the bill for not prioritizing the privacy of U.S. citizens. read more

The Amash Amendment

Among the amendments the House approved was one by Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., that put certain personal information off limits: library, medical and gun sale records, tax returns and education documents.

“I don’t know why the government would want to snoop through library records or tax returns to counter the cybersecurity threat,” Amash said.

The House approved his amendment, 415-0.

Read more

Congressman Tim Griffin writes;

UPDATED Thursday, April 26, 6:30 PM CT:

The House passed CISPA after agreeing to six amendments that strengthen individuals’ privacy rights and directly address the concerns my constituents expressed to me. After careful consideration, I voted for it. You can see how everyone else voted here.

Here are the six amendments to CISPA that were agreed to before passage. I voted for them all.

1) Rogers (MI) Amendment: Makes clear that information already subject to FOIA by law remains subject to FOIA.

2) Quayle Amendment: Amendment to further limit government use of information shared under the bill only to: 1) cybersecurity purposes, 2) investigation and prosecution of cybersecurity crimes, 3) protection of individuals from danger of death or serious bodily harm, 4) protection of minors from child pornography or risk of sexual exploitation or serious threats to physical safety, and 5) protection of the national security of the United States.

3) Amash Amendment: Prohibits the federal government from using library records, firearms sales records, and tax returns it receives from private entities under the bill.

4) Mulvaney Amendment #8: Improves anonymization and minimization provisions by providing clear authority to create procedures to protect privacy and civil liberties.

5) Goodlatte Amendment: Improves the definitions in the bill to clarify and narrow the information that can be shared with the government.

6) Mulvaney Amendment #15: Sunsets the provisions of the bill five years after enactment.