In a sneak attack, the vote on CISPA (America’s far-reaching, invasive Internet surveillance bill) was pushed up by a day. The bill was hastily amended, making it much worse, then passed by the House on a rushed vote. Techdirt’s Leigh Beadon does a very good job of explaining what just happened to America:
Previously, CISPA [Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act] 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.
Basically this means CISPA can no longer be called a cybersecurity bill at all. The government would be able to search information it collects under CISPA for the purposes of investigating American citizens with complete immunity from all privacy protections as long as they can claim someone committed a “cybersecurity crime”. Basically it says the 4th Amendment does not apply online, at all. Moreover, the government could do whatever it wants with the data as long as it can claim that someone was in danger of bodily harm, or that children were somehow threatened—again, notwithstanding absolutely any other law that would normally limit the government’s power.