The GOP’s Secure IT Act is a threat to internet user privacy, and must be stopped

Senator Joe Lierberman (I-CT) would like to hand the nation’s cybersecurity police power to the Department of Homeland Security. Last month, Senator John McCain (R-AZ) openly criticized Lierberman’s bill, The Cybersecurity Act of 2012, and proposed that this power rest in the hands of the NSA with The Secure IT Act.

Both are terrible ideas.

To be fair, it is vital that America’s critical infrastructure (energy grids, for instance) be secured against terrorist and state-sponsored attacks (Al Qaeda, Chinese hackers, etc.). However, forcing private businesses to hand over user data to either the DHS or NSA would violate the privacy of users, to say nothing of the federal meddling in the free market. Indeed, it’s a wonder that this issue hasn’t galvanized the States’ Rights contingent of the GOP.

As the ACLU writes, “The Secure IT Act, promoted as a measure to counter cyber attacks, would allow the NSA to collect the internet records of people who are not suspected of doing anything wrong. This unprecedented and broadly worded bill clears the way for internet providers, wireless carriers, and websites to share your personal information with military spy agencies.”

As I noted in an article last month on this bill, “Ancient Rome forbade its generals and their armies from entering the city-state to act as a police force in times of crisis. Wouldn’t it be wise to prevent the NSA and Department of Defense from doing the same on American soil?”

The NSA, as the Pentagon’s spy agency, should not be allowed to operate on American soil.

If you want to help fight The Secure IT Act, head over to the ACLU website to send a letter to your Senators.