Sunday, May 12, 2013

Will You Be A Glasshole? | Techcitement*

Will You Be A Glasshole? | Techcitement*


Some point in the late 1990s during one late Sunday night in Brixton, South London, I was waiting on a bus to go home. A guy came up to me, mumbling. I became nervous. Was he a nutter about to stab me? He had a hood on and it was drizzling lightly, if I recall correctly.
The sky above the port was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel.
William Gibson, Neuromancer.
It turns out the nutter was talking on his phone, on a headset or an earpiece. I couldn’t see it, it was dark and wet, and the device was concealed in his clothing. While crazy people wandering around Brixton was nothing new, people walking around talking to themselves was a recent development. Mumbling, shouting, swearing obscenities. Mobile phones were everywhere. I couldn’t take the train to work in the morning without some loud-mouthed jerk yelling about how he was “Gonna be there in five minutes” and how kippered he was after last night’s drinking.
A few years later, Bluetooth headsets appeared.
Now, a decade later, there are numerous opinion pieces in countless magazines around the world, wondering “Do Bluetooth Headsets Look Stupid?” (yes) and how they can negatively affect your driving (talking on a cell phone and driving is totally like driving drunk, which is a TOTALLY PROVEN SCIENCE FACT.)
There’s a subtle piece of body language that allows you to walk through crowds unmolested. Lifehackerran a brief piece on it, reprinting from Reddit:
When I walk through large crowds of people, to avoid walking into anyone, I simply stare at my destination. I look no one in the eyes. People actually will watch your eyes and they avoid the direction you are going. If I look into people’s eyes as we are walking into each other, we are sure to collide. You have to let people know where you intend to go with your eyes. It always works for me, try it!
Not everyone reacts favorably to new technology. While on holiday in Paris last year, Steve Mann was assaulted and forcibly ejected by McDonald’s employees after trying to remove his EyeTap glasses. Bear in mind, the Eye Tap is physically connected to Steve’s skull. This wasn’t the first time the staff at Paris’s McDonald’s have acted like modern technology is some kind of alien monolith, so there’s a precedent.
I have worn a computer vision system of some kind for 34 years, and am the inventor of the technology that I wear and use in my day-to-day life.
Although it has varied over the last 34 years, I have worn the present embodiment of this system (pictured below) for 13 years. This simple design which I did in collaboration with designer Chris Aimone, consists of a sleek strip of aluminum that runs across the forehead, with two silicone nose pads. It holds an EyeTap device (computer-controlled laser light source that causes the eye itself to function as if it were both a camera and display, in effect) in front of my right eye. It also gives the wearer the appearance of having a “glass eye”, this phenomenon being known as the ‘glass eye’ effect (Presence Connect, 2002).
Ray Kurzweil, noted futurist, described the McDonald’s incident with Mann as the first ever attack on a cyborg.
Cyborgs not only disrupt orderly power structures and fixed interests but also signify a challenge to settled politics, which assumes that binary oppositions or identities are natural distinctions.
Donna Haraway, Cyborgs
McDonald's staff reacting to modern technology, yesterday.
McDonald’s staff reacting to modern technology, yesterday.
 At Google’s I/O conference last year, when a team of skydivers gave a live relay from the built-in camera on the glasses to the audience below, Google introduced Google Glass, the company’s immersive augmented-reality wearable technology. Google Glass happens to looks uncannily like Steve Mann’s EyeTap.
This man has his device BOLTED TO HIS SKULL.
This man has his device BOLTED TO HIS SKULL.

Last month, Google rolled out its Google Glass website.
“Using Google+ or Twitter, tell us what you would do if you had Glass, starting with the hashtag #ifihadglass.”
Winners get to spend $1,500 on a pair.
People have entered a competition so they win the chance to spend $1,500.
Software developer Andre Torrez could probably make that back inside of a week:

Already, Google Glass has had its share of criticisms.

Thank goodness I didn’t attend Google’s Glass Foundry event back in January. If so,  I wouldn’t be writing this now because of the NDA I would’ve been asked to sign. If any of those attendees fall into a manhole as a result of distracted walking, Google would only pay them $100. These events have spawned countless Glasshole sightings around New York and San Francisco, including Sergei Brin (Google co-founder) riding the subway wearing a pair.
His eyes were eggs of unstable crystal, vibrating with a frequency whose name was rain and the sound of trains, suddenly sprouting a humming forest of hair-fine glass spines.
William Gibson, Neuromancer
Brandy was spotted at Mountain View’s Googleplex wearing them.
Brandy was also spotted at Mountain View’s Googleplex wearing them. Pictured because she’s far prettier than Sergei Brin.

That’s not before San Francisco bar co-owner, Tom Madonna of Shotwells posted on Facebook about the Glasses, which in turn prompted King of The Angry Nerds, Robert Scoble, to praise the device. Scoble might have then gone on to demand metal legs.
I’ll be one of the heaviest users of Google Glass in the world. I’m excited by getting them. But there are times and places where I expect that I’ll be asked to take them off. There will be times I ask other people to take their wearable computers and recording devices off too.
So, if you are a bartender, you better watch out. Those of us who will be wearing Google Glass are often influencers, rich, and willing to change OUR behavior when it comes to spending our money, time, attention. Hint: I tip well and drink a lot of expensive Scotch (although I’m trying to cut down, which the Glass will help me with too).
Too bad for Scoble if his Google Glasses are attached to prescription lenses. I wonder what his interaction would be like with Steve Mann, who requires special tools to remove his EyeTap. Or would Scoble fly into a scotch-fueled rage and act like a French McDonald’s employee?
The Atlantic went into more depth on Tom Madonna’s Facebook post, going so far as to interview him, eliciting more details of what had actually happened:
‘When you buy a new phone, it’s in your pocket, but this, you’re wearing something on your face. Anyone that cares what they look like is not gonna wear Google glasses. That’s my opinion,’ Madonna said. ‘If you are super nerdy and you like to show off that you’re in tech and smart and all those things, I can see you probably wearing Google Glasses, but you are probably in a bubble or … new. We’ve all heard all this stuff. Like, this guy moved to SF and he comes to the bar. He’s from Scottsdale and he’s using all these [tech] words. I had to stop him. I said, ‘You sound interesting and different in Phoenix, but you sound boring here. You are cliche.’
What’s the worst that could happen though?

How about being picked up in a bar by some drunken glasshole using the awful SceneTap app because you’re his chosen demographic? Or a criminal who’s used PittPatt’s software to data-mine your Facebook or dating site pages to disarm you because they know too much about you such as having knowledge of your address, phone number, and workplace?

TSA Agents could be able to wear Google Glasses whilst scanning crowds, using facial recognition software like Polar Rose, PittPatt, or Face.com to pick out likely offenders from the No-Fly List. Becausefacial recognition software isn’t perfect, maybe the TSA could tie into the TrapWire system.

Throw in some technology that Microsoft has patented for Kinect, allowing the company to target advertising based on your emotional state.

How about eye-tracking software that allows advertisers to more accurately sell you products based on your gender while wearing Google Glasses? Remember, Google is a company that has stopped ad-blocking apps for Android and advertising is its number one source of income.

Or you could just let Adam Harvey do your makeup.

Or you could just let Adam Harvey do your makeup.

 

Will those that become enamored by Google Glass be Like countless others who walk around waving $500 pieces of technology around like magical black mirrors preventing harm or sit by the doors of city buses using iPads or MacBook Pros as iPods who are then surprised when they get pepper-sprayed or punched in the face to have their products stolen, eliciting no pity from passers-by? What will they do when their $1,500 Google Glasses attract the attention of thieves?

Are you going to call those same police officers looking up your murky criminal record from the Cloud as they question you? Rio de Janero’s 2014 World Cup police will roll out exactly this kind of technology.

Or how about your boss calling you in for a meeting to talk to you about your performance while looking at pictures of cats on Cute Overload?

What about the thought of YouTube descending into WorldStarHipHop video chaos, where every video has some clown yelling “WORLD STAR!” over the events?

How about ruining stand-up comedy? Or movies? Or plays? Do you think the Alamo Drafthouse will have to update its no talking or texting rule to include a ban on Google Glasses?

What’s to stop people from using Glass to record movies, stream previews direct to the internet, or ruin punchlines for audiences waiting to see a comedian’s latest tour? That’s already happened. Patton Oswalt has had run-ins with people recording new, try-out pieces in small, intimate shows. Doug Stanhope has more pro-active suggestions,

People bootlegging shows on cellphones and putting material out before it’s finished is a problem for every comic, but compared to all the upsides of what the internet has done, it’s a fact of life that we’ll learn to adapt to even if it means finding these people and killing their families in front of them.

In these scenarios, of course, we’re simply imagining bad situations, but these many speculations aren’t even the worst-case scenarios. Edward Champion came up with a detailed list of 35 more on his blog,Reluctant Habits. We’ve already seen number seven, an increased risk of violence.

Oversharing and checking in. Foursquare, Yelp, Twitter, Facebook, and Flickr all tell people where you’re not with geo-tagging. Please Rob Me lays out the problems with oversharing. (Argument 21, according to Edward Champion.)

Before Glass, this was already a very legitimate concern. In 2010, The Daily Beast‘s Lisa Riordan Seville reported on how Foursquare inspired strangers to stalk people. Seville describes how social media strategist Carri Bugbee checked into a restaurant on Foursquare. The hostess came over to Bugbee, telling her that she had a telephone call. Bugbee answered the phone and was greeted with a male voice who found her Foursquare check-in and told her that she shouldn’t use the service because people could learn where she lived. Then he called her a ‘stupid bitch,’ among other insults.

Google has explicitly said that it won’t employ these technologies on the company’s products. Just Picasa. For now. And opting in is an extremely effective as a deterrent, right? Never mind that Facebook sets profile pictures to be visible by default, and Google+’s demands that people use their real identities,which works so well, especially given Vic Gondutra’s history of flip-flopping and bowing to external pressures in deference of people’s personal lives. The Electronic Frontier Foundation states the casebetter than I.

It is well within the rights of any company–Google, Facebook, or otherwise–to create policies as they see fit for their services. But it is shortsighted for these companies to suggest that ‘real name’ policies create greater potential for civility, when they only do so at the expense of diversity and free expression. Indeed, a shift toward crafting policies requiring “real” names will have a chilling effect on online free expression.

However, where technology gives, it can also take away. Apple has been beavering away on a method toshut down your iPhone’s camera feature, reports RT.com:

Apple has been working on a plan that will allow concert halls, sporting arenas and other venues to install infrared sensors that will detect iPhones going into camera mode and promptly disable the device’s ability to snap a shot or film a video. Explicitly, the patent states that it will use new technology to ‘capture a second image that includes an infrared signal with encoded data’ and from there could shut-down a phone’s recording capability or else introduce a compulsory watermark.

Suck it, you bunch of Glassholes.

A Simulated Story: Jim And Max And The Wonderful Garden | Techcitement*

A Simulated Story: Jim And Max And The Wonderful Garden | Techcitement*


The following is an incredibly dramatic re-enactment of EA’s policies and possible decision making reasoning behind its Sims franchise.
Once upon a time, there was a pair of chums, Jim and Max. Jim and Max were bestest friends. Jim and Max started a garden, and it was the bestest garden in all of town. Everyone came from miles around to admire their garden. They would dance, play, and sing in the garden. This made Max and Jim very happy.
Before long, several other people built their own gardens. Some were as good, some were better. As time passed, Jim and Max improved their garden further. Jim and Max asked their neighbor Eddie to help. Eddie was big, and a little slow, but eager to help.
So, Jim and Max rebuilt their garden, and it was even better than before. It was so good, people once again came from miles around to see how wondrous it had become. They couldn’t believe their eyes at what Eddie, Jim, and Max had wrought. Eddie set to work, selling tickets. Soon, Eddie, Max, and Jim were very, very rich.
Over time, Jim, Max, and Eddie continued working, designing newer and newer wonders. Visitors would rub their eyes, convinced that what they had seen before were just dull, flat, lifeless reproductions of each new idea Jim and Max (with Eddie’s help) came up with.
japanese_garden_royal_roads_university_british_columbia
One day, Jim thought it would be fun to play around with other ideas he had, to have small people run around and tend his garden, much like the Oompa-Loompas in Charlie and The Chocolate Factory. Max thought Jim was nuts. Eddie disagreed and thought this was the best idea ever. Soon, everyone wanted one of Jim’s little Oompa-Loompas. When you owned an Oompa-Loompa, you had to have all the accessories for them that Eddie could think of.
Before long, though, Jim saw that Eddie was selling Jim’s Oompa-Loompas as Eddie’s Oompa-Loompas even though Jim and Max were working on making them. And as Jim improved his Oompa-Loompas, he noticed that Eddie was selling more than Max was and making a fortune in selling Oompa-Loompa accessories that Max couldn’t even dream of.
shakespeares garden by jen mcconnell
Meanwhile, Max was tending to the garden. Even with all the little Oompa-Loompas to help him, it was hard work. Eddie checked in from time to time, but Jim was busy all day long. Max finally told Eddie that the new garden was ready, so Eddie told all his friends. All of EEddie’s friends told their friends and soon people came flocking once more to see the wonderful garden.
This time, though, people started complaining.
“The garden,” they would say, “it looks patchy.”
“It’s full of queer little people!”
“It looks great, but it’s difficult to play and dance in!”
“There are bugs everywhere!”
And then people noticed that Jim wasn’t involved in this garden. Max realized that he had driven away Jim, who was spending more and more time with Eddie. This made Max sad.
a-2012-01-16-09-12-56
Max got angry and tore down the garden. And then, seeing what he had done, Max got upset and started building a new garden, again. This time, though, Max let Jim’s Oompa-Loompas have more fun with their work. Max noticed that Eddie made them work too hard, so they made mistakes, and became sad. Max apologized to Jim and promised that he would be a better friend than ever before.
This time, less and less people came to the garden, complaining that Eddie was asking too much of them to come all this way to look at Max’s wonderful garden and to offer them so little in return. Max became despondent, and not even the cheeriest of the Oompa-Loompas, setting herself on fire whilst doing a little dance around the garden and singing, could cheer him up.
black_background_with_image_of_girl_dancing_on_fire
Meanwhile, Jim was bored with his little people. He wanted to make little animals, that people could take home and change them as needed. The people loved this idea, even if the animals were a little simple-minded and the process took a very long time to develop. But then Eddie started demanding people call him to let him know how their animals were developing and to make sure they didn’t sell the animals to other people.
This made a lot of the people upset. They didn’t have to do this when they bought their Oompa-Loompas. Sometimes, Eddie was drunk when he picked up the phone. Sometimes, he was angry. Sometimes, Eddie asked that he be called late at night. Soon, people were no longer saying wonderful things about Jim, Max, and Eddie. Instead, they were calling Jim and Eddie’s animals dangerous, evil, and unpleasant to look at.
Businessman has stress - Mann schreit ins Telefon
Eddie promised to never answer the phone when angry, drunk, or late at night.
Jim blamed Eddie for mishandling his animals and yelled at him for mistreating his customers. Jim packed his bags. Max could only look on helplessly as Eddie held him back.
“Jim,” Max said, over Eddie’s shoulder. “Jim, remember, we’ll always have our wonderful garden.”
With Jim gone, Eddie turned to Max and said, “I need you to build a new garden. Without Jim. This one will be Eddie and Max’s garden, and I have some great ideas.”
japanese-garden-jjennings-design
It took Max a long while to work on a new garden. The Oompa-Loompas worked hard, but this time they had less of a say in how it looked. Eddie, meanwhile, was working on new ideas to sell the garden to people. He was angry, upset, and hurt at how people had reacted to Jim’s animals. But sales of Oompa-Loompa accessories was steady, so that made Eddie happy.
Soon, the big day came close. People were enthusiastically buying tickets to see the new garden. Eddie was touting this as the must-see event of the year. Some people were given sneak peeks to encourage others to also get excited about the game. Max asked Eddie how many people were coming to see the new garden so he could provide enough parking and hot dog stands and balloons for all the visitors. Eddie told Max that “predicative sales figures are industry confidential information” and to not worry.
money in the hands
The next morning, Eddie swung open the gates to the wonderful garden, and everyone oohed and aahed, but Max quickly saw that there were too many people, that lines of traffic were backing up, all of the neighbors were complaining about the noise, and all of the people from out of town were clogging up roads and sidewalks. Max tried to explain what was going on, but all Eddie would let him say came from his lawyer’s handbook, which only made the neighbors more upset.
What angered the people who had come miles to see the new wonderful garden most was how small it was. It was tiny. It was hidden behind a big sheet of glass, so people could no longer play, dance, and sing in it. If you wanted to actually go into the tiny garden, you had to call Eddie and ask for his permission, even though it was Max’s hard work. The people felt cheated and started to throw things at Eddie.
terrarium-3
Eddie tried to point out that this wasn’t as bad as it looked, and that this was how it was supposed to appear. Finally, Eddie poo-pooed the complaints, made lots of empty promises that he knew he couldn’t make good on, and refused to refund people’s tickets. Eddie offered a free Oompa-Loompa to anyone inconvenienced, which wasn’t enough, as most people already had Oompa-Loompas.
Soon, Eddie got mad and stopped talking about the garden. He started to shut down parts of it, even the parts that the people had admired and praised.
Finally, to try and salvage what he could, he asked a friend of his to offer free tickets for hot dogs with packets of toothpaste, even though some of the parts of the garden selling hot dogs were being closed for good only a few months from now. Because nothing says wonderful garden, like tubes of toothpaste. But it was too late, and no one came to see the wonderful garden ever again.
Toothpaste
The end.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Aisha Tyler To Gamer Trolls: GFYS | Techcitement*

Aisha Tyler To Gamer Trolls: GFYS | Techcitement*


If you don’t know who Aisha Tyler is, shame on you. Here’s a quick rundown of her expansive resume: She’s an actress, comedian, author, talk show host, and runs a successful podcast. Currently, she’s the voice of gorgeous, sasquatch-handed Lana Kane in Archer, which has wrapped up its fourth hilarious season. Tyler also emceed the Interactive Awards at SXSW 2013, and she interviews some of the more awesome comedians, musicians and actors, on her podcast Girl On Guy. She tweets voraciously. This July, she’ll host Whose Line Is It, Anyway? when it comes to The CW for its big television comeback.
Basically, Tyler crushes it, and we love her for it.
Recently, the actress/comedian/everything else woman was briefly interviewed by PolicyMic.com where she discussed in an article called “Aisha Tyler: How Gamers Can Help Stop Sexual Violence” some of the fallout from the gaming world when she hosted Ubisoft’s press conference at E3 2012. Tyler reminded addressed the response to the open letter she penned on her Facebook page to all the basement-dwelling, woman-fearing, light-scorning trolls that inhibit and inhabit the gaming world.
And for the record, for every sexist or negative comment I had online, there were 10 or more encouraging or supportive ones. So while there is still an outspoken contingent of people in the gaming community who try to discourage or lash out at women gamers, for the most part the community becomes more welcoming every day. I love games; and gamers all have that in common. A love of gameplay tends to level the field.
If you must engage, employ your allies. There are far more positive voices in the gaming community than negative ones. Retweeting a negative or sexist comment puts that person on blast with the larger community. Usually your friends and followers will do the dirty work of ripping this person a new one for you, which I admit with some sheepishness can be very enjoyable to watch.
Aisha-Tyler-E3-2012-Ubisoft-Responds-To-Critics
In case you missed it, here’s Tyler’s awesome letter, originally published on her Facebook page, where she puts the trolls on blast:
Dear Gamers,
I play.I’ve played since I was a little kid.
Since I begged my dad to buy me a Nintendo LCD Donkey Kong, Jr.
Since I blew through three weeks’ allowance playing Defender at the laundromat.
Since you were a twinge in the left side of your daddy’s underoos.
I’ve been a gamer since I made friends with a girl in the 5th grade just to get at her Atari.
Since I missed the bus playing Galaga after school.
Since I missed the start of Return of the Jedi playing Tempest in the theater lobby.
You think you know. You don’t know.
I’ve been a gamer since before you could read.
Since I aced midterms after staying up all night playing Evil Tetris.
Since I became dorm champ at Leisure Suit Larry.
Since I double-wielded on Time Crisis 3 at Fuddrucker’s.
I was a voice in not one, but two major video game titles.
I hosted the Reach Beta tutorial.
I was a Gears of War superfan panelist at ComicCon.
I hosted the Ubisoft presser at E3 2012.
I didn’t do any of it for the money.
For most I got paid next to nothing, and for some, less than that.
I did it because I love video games.
Because I’ve dreamt since I was a kid of being in one of the games I love.
How many games have you done voices for?
How many cons have you repped at?
Your buddy’s Unreal Tournament garage deathmatch doesn’t count.
I go to E3 each year because I love video games.
Because new titles still get me high.
Because I still love getting swag.
Love wearing my gamer pride on my sleeve.
People ask me what console I play.
Motherfucker, ALL of them.
I get invited to E3 because real gamers know I’m a gamer.
I don’t do it for the money.
I have plenty of money.
I don’t do it for the fame.
Fuck fame.
I do it because I love video games.
I don’t give out my gamertag because I don’t want a mess of noob jackholes lining up to assassinate me on XBL.
I don’t give a shit what you think about my gamerscore.
I don’t play to prove a point.
I don’t play to be the best.
I play because I love it.
I play.
I’ve been playing my whole life.
I’m not ashamed of it.
I don’t apologize for it.
It’s who I am.
To the core.
I’m a gamer.
So to all the haters out there who claim I don’t play;
To the GAF dicks,
Gamespot trolls,
To every illiterate racist douchebag on Youtube:
Flame away. Go nuts.
Post every jackass comment your heart desires.
I’ll still be playing when your mom’s kicked you out of her basement and you have to sell your old-ass console and get a real job.
For now, I say to you respectfully, and I mean this from the bottom of my heart, GFYS.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Playing The Shellhead Game With Iron Man 3 | Techcitement*

Playing The Shellhead Game With Iron Man 3 | Techcitement*


Coming soon is the new Disney-Marvel Iron Man 3 movie. Also coming soon is a tie-in game fromGameloft. Here are the first two trailers for the game.
Become billionaire Tony Stark as Iron Man in this fast paced endless runner and fight the AIM around the world to prevent their dark schemes from succeeding. Grab your Arc reactor & suit up for an awesome run!
On the pro side, the game is free. That’s about it though as Gameloft’s take on Iron Man 3 is an endless runner game, and OH GOD IT LOOKS MERCILESSLY TEDIOUS! The gaming developer even has to justify the game to its target audience by identifying Iron Man as “ICONIC”.
Even the Oscorp easter egg cannot hide what an awful idea this game is.
Even the Oscorp easter egg cannot hide what an awful idea this game is.

Actually, there is a neat factor of getting to play 18 different armor variants, such as the Hulkbuster, Mark 42, War Machine, and Iron Patriot. Kotaku lists them all.
The Iron Man 3 running game is available on April 25 on iPhone, iPad, and Android devices. Did I mention it was free?
If the concept of an endless runner game is severely disappointing, you can always download the Iron Man IV mod for Grand Theft Auto IV on the PC and destroy everything in sight. How about zombies? Yes, there’sa mod for that.
Clearly, the game they really meant to make.
Clearly, the game that Rockstar meant to make.
In the UK, Disney-Marvel has joined up with grocery chain Tesco to create a treasure hunt app called the Stark Armoury app (in keeping up with Star Trek). What follows is an insight into the marketing program for the rest of 2013 from Marvel International’s VP Nigel Cook:
The Stark Armoury is a fantastic and engaging piece of Marvel content, and forms part of an extensive retail opportunity with Tesco that will run from now through to the DVD release and Christmas.
Iron Man 3 is a key driver this year for the overall Avengers franchise, and the full product range will continue to be supported with TV programming on Disney XD and ITV ahead of the cinema release in November of Marvel’s Thor: The Dark World.
Iron Man 3 comes out in theaters in the U.S. on May 3. Don’t expect to be able to pre-purchase tickets anytime soon as the Mouse is currently gouging theater chains as it warms up to release about 20 or 30 movies you will watch the crap out of for the rest of your lives.

Friday, April 19, 2013

CISPA Passed This Week Against Objections, Pleas, And Rationality | Techcitement*

CISPA Passed This Week Against Objections, Pleas, And Rationality | Techcitement*


I guess after being paid craploads of taxpayer money ($174,000 annually), Senators need to show something for it, given they have one of the laxest schedules imaginable. Some of the bills that have gone through the house in the last week or two have included rolling back insider trading rules, making Congress immune to prosecution, voting down expanded enforcement of background checks on gun buyers, and the lower House voting through the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA).
Even with the threat of a veto from the White House, and having over 30 civil liberty organisations oppose it, the House of Representatives passed a bill that would allow private companies to sift through your internet useage. Not that cable companies and internet providers like Warner, Comcast, AT&T, and Verizon don’t already sift through your data and sell it anyway.
Doesn’t this activity go against the very wording of the Fourth Amendment?
The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.
Upon inspection, it certainly looks that way.
So, what happened?
Prior to Monday, April 22, CISPA was potentially dead in the water, with just two cosponsors. Then, IBM happened. A group of 200 executives flew in to glad hand and chat up a few representatives. The very next day, the bill had 36 cosponsors. These new cosponsors collectively and suddenly found themselves$7,626,081 richer than they were when they woke up on Monday.
In total, some $67 million has been spent to ensure CISPA has traction, which is 16 times as much money as that spent against. Telephone utilities generously chipped in about $5 million. Investment companies and banks threw down some $17 million between them, and big pharma and real estate developers went in with $11 million. This isn’t chump change found down the back of a sofa cushion.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) has received some $2.7 million to ensure this bill passes in the Senate. Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) is a cheaper fish to fry at $1.4 million. This is how government works, it seems.
Tuesday, in light of this foolery, the White House issued a veto threat against the bill, in which it said:
(It) remains concerned that the bill does not require private entities to take reasonable steps to remove irrelevant personal information when sending cybersecurity data to the government or other private sector entities. Citizens have a right to know that corporations will be held accountable – and not granted immunity – for failing to safeguard personal information adequately.
Also worth noting is that the White House had drafted its own set of guidelines back in February, passed by executive order. President Obama directly called this out in his last State of the Union address.
I signed a new executive order that will strengthen our cyber defenses by increasing information sharing, and developing standards to protect our national security, our jobs and our privacy. Now, Congress must act as well, by passing legislation to give our government a greater capacity to secure our networks and deter attacks.
Reporters Without Borders wrote to Congress and pointed out, “CISPA’s information-sharing regime allows the transfer of vast amounts of data, including sensitive information like Internet records or the content of e-mails, to any agency in the government.”
The Electronic Frontier Foundation made a statement on its website, calling out what it sees as the dangers of CISPA.
As it stands, CISPA is dangerously vague, and should not allow for any expansion of government powers through a series of poorly worded definitions. If the drafters intend to give new powers to the government’s already extensive capacity to examine your private information, they should propose clear and specific language so we can have a real debate.
Currently, private companies and the government can’t look at your personal data, such as bank accounts, tax returns, or medical records. CISPA doesn’t require any due care that this information gets edited out. In theory, a pharmaceutical company could imply you’re part of a threat and request all of your medical information as part of a warrantless search and data dump from the NSA. And then sell it without being held legally liable for sharing that information, a practice that seemingly conflicts with privacy policies on existing websites.
Thursday afternoon, the bill passed 288 to 127.
Rep. Alan Grayson (D – FL) tried to insert a one-sentence amendment and revealed via Twitter that there wasn’t even a debate on the bill. (Grayson voted no, by the way.)
During Thursday’s pre-vote discussion, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D – CA) vowed to cast her ballot against CISPA.
“I’m disappointed that we did not address some of the concerns mentioned by the White House about personal information. Unfortunately, it offers no policies and did not allow any amendments or real solution that upholds Americans’ right to privacy.”
What are those arguments in favor of CISPA?

CISPA is the only true response to the bombings in Boston!

“Recent events in Boston demonstrate that we have to come together as Republicans and Democrats,” said Rep. Mike McCaul (R- TX) on Thursday morning in defense of the bill. “In the case of Boston, they were real bombs; in this case, they’re digital bombs. And these digital bombs are on their way.”
Yet cosponsors were jumping on the bill like cockroaches onto a dropped PB&J before the bombs went off in Boston. Also, how does a seriously flawed cyber security measure equal real-world threats?

CISPA is the only true response to Chinese hackers!

Except the money has been trickling in for years before the Chinese hackers were exposed. Handing over people’s personal information from warrantless searches doesn’t protect people from the Chinese. If anything, it exposes them further.

CISPA protects American users of the internet!

“CISPA is a poorly drafted bill that would provide a gaping exception to bedrock privacy law,” said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Kurt Opsahl. “While we all agree that our nation needs to address pressing Internet security issues, this bill sacrifices online privacy while failing to take common-sense steps to improve security.”

CISPA will protect $400 billion of American trade secrets lost each year!

Know what else accomplishes that goal?
  • Better corporate network security.
  • Not hiring the cheapest trained chimps to run your IT department.
  • Government funding in technical subjects in schools and colleges.
  • Not having 12345 as your password, and not consistently outsourcing all of your business in ever decreasing circles to lower and lower bidders.
A total of 85 percent of America’s critical infrastructure lies in the hands of private businesses. A walloping90 percent of all corporate intrusions by hackers required the simplest methods. The Chinese Hackers weren’t geniuses; they left their digital fingerprints everywhere they went.
Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger (D- MD), one of the bill’s creators, said, “If your house is being robbed, you call 911 and the police department comes. That’s the same scenario we are looking at here.”
No, the scenario here is that you make sure you don’t shuffle out of your house in the morning with your pants around your ankles, drooling coffee down your front, and eating toast, while leaving the front door wide open. Then, don’t become surprised when you find random strangers came and took your nice stuff.
Ruppersberger revealed his priorities in an interview with Rolling Stone where he said, “People ask me all the time, ‘What keeps you up at night?’ And I say, ‘Spicy Mexican food, weapons of mass destruction and cyber attacks. We have a serious problem. We’re trying to fix this problem.”
Frankly, I’d be more concerned about an insomniac Representative who eats badly and obsesses over discredited issues from the last century that dragged America into war if he didn’t introduce a bill that is basically unconstitutional.