America has embraced the concept of “open data” more so than any other country. But now we’re being faced with hard decisions—where do you draw the line at being transparent and where are you invading privacy?
This past February the Obama administration released a report on the collection of consumer data online. What the report did not discuss was the collection of citizen data from the government.
We’ve already seen numerous Google reports showing that government does regularly request citizen data, rarely with warrants and almost always without the citizen’s knowledge.
Which brings us to the question—does the government have a right to access information you expect to be kept private?
Two similar bills, SOPA and PIPA, have already been defeated this year. Now a new bill has been proposed, CISPA, that would legalize this behavior. An article in CNET most accurately summarized the bill:
CISPA’s primary function is to remove legal barriers that might keep Internet companies from giving all your communication and information to the government. It allows “cyber entities” (such as Internet service providers, social networks like Facebook and cell phone companies like AT&T) to circumvent Internet privacy laws when they’re pressured by Homeland Security to hand over or shut down — well, almost anything of yours online that the government wants, no warrant needed.