September 18, 2011

Are You a Cyber Terrorist?

September 18, 2011. Washington. Are you a cyber terrorist? If US military contractors, President Obama and the Democrat and Republican leadership have their way, the answer is yes. Under the veil of a virtual media black-out, the Senate Judiciary Committee met Thursday to finalize SB1151 – the Personal Data Privacy and Security Act of 2011.

Sen Patrick Leahy (D-VT) Co-Sponsor SB 1151

photo compliments HillBuzz.org

Simultaneously, civil libertarians, Facebook users and free press advocates alike began sharing scenarios of who would be considered a terrorist under this legislation. The frightening answer is, everyone.

According to the Senate Judiciary Committee, SB1151 was “Held Over” along with seven Amendments to the Bill. Two Amendments were adopted by “Unanimous Consent” and one Amendment was adopted by “Voice Vote”. The full Bill will have to wait for another day. That should give its opponents some much needed time to mobilize opposition. It's chief sponsor, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) has already gone on the offensive with a statement of his own.

The tactic of using cyber security as a form of national defense began in 1986 with the passage of the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. At the time, it merely meant to protect citizens, corporations and government agencies alike against trendy “hackers”. Usually portrayed as harmless college kids in the movies, global corporations of government security agencies weren’t amused. Before long, cyber crimes evolved into international espionage, stealing of corporate trade secrets and nuclear sabotage.

For that reason, Congress has periodically updated and revised the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act every few years. This year however, Americans would see the most drastic shift in cyber crime since the dawn of computers.

User Agreement

Do you actually read all those ‘User Agreement’s one has to agree to every day just to maneuver the internet or use a personal computer? Most people, including your author, will concede that they don’t. According to its critics, SB1151 – the Personal Data Privacy and Security Act of 2011 - would make any violation of any ‘User Agreement’ on any device or web site, in any way shape or form, no matter how big, small or innocent, a felony. Not only that, offenders would be charged as cyber terrorists.

On Monday, a little known industry group representing the US military complex released a report urging Congress and President Obama to do more to combat cyber terrorism against government agencies and multinational corporations, especially the ones hired by the US Federal government to fight its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.



The Intelligence and National Security Alliance bills itself a not-for-profit think tank and consultant to the Federal government regarding national security. One look at the corporations that make up the INSA reveals a glimpse into their true motives. The group includes General Dynamics, Microsoft, Northrop Grumman, Hewlett Packard, Raytheon, Lockheed Martin, Boeing and many more of the top recipients in US military spending.

Within days of INSA’s release of their report demanding more be done against cyber terrorists, the Intelligence and National Security Alliance was not only victimized, but completely violated. The top security experts the US Federal government relies on, were completely humiliated this week. Responding to INSA’s demands for retribution against the hacking community, the hacking community struck first.

INSA Nest of Official and Corporate Spies

That was the title given to the post on Cryptome.org a few days ago. Included in the post were the formerly secret identities of the entire 3,000 person membership roster of the Intelligence and National Security Alliance. Both Cryptome.org and the INSA have confirmed the details. Cryptome.com is a freedom of information site founded in 1996 that will publish just about any secret government documents regardless of what country they expose.

Almost simultaneously, the US Senate Judiciary Committee was moving their anti-cyber terror legislation forward – the Personal Data Privacy and Security Act of 2011. It was at that point that the Senate Committee hit a speed bump – the American people. Immediately, word began spreading to all corners of cyberspace warning just how scary this law is.

The Warnings

“Imagine that President Obama could order the arrest of anyone who broke a promise on the Internet. So you could be jailed for lying about your age or weight on an Internet dating site. Or you could be sent to federal prison if your boss told you to work but you used the company's computer to check sports scores online. Congress is now poised to grant the Obama administration's wishes in the name of cybersecurity." – Wall Street Journal

“For example: violating Facebook's terms of agreement by letting your not-quite 13-year-old kid create an account, or violating an employer's terms of workplace computer use. So let's say your employer has rules against social networking at work. You take a moment to check out a photo of a friend's new baby – Awwww, how cute – and suddenly you're committing a felony?” – TMCNet.com



“In 2009, the Justice Department prosecuted a woman for violating the 'terms of service' of the social networking site MySpace.com. The feds charged her with conspiracy to violate the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act. He also cites a case where a woman faced charges for using Ticketmaster.” – Atlantic Wire

“Luay Batti worked in the IT department of Campbell-Ewald, a Michigan advertising company. While employed, Batti allegedly obtained without authorization confidential information that belonged to Campbell-Ewald’s CEO. Batti met with Campbell-Ewald’s General Manager to complain about the IT weaknesses in the company’s computer security. Campbell-Ewald fired Batti and contacted the police. Subsequently, Butti was convicted for violating the CFAA.” – TradeSecretsLaw.com

“And what about any false claim that you make on the internet. Does that also “exceed authorized use” and break the “terms of service” of certain sites? Say I set up a dummy Facebook account, or use a stock photo for my eDating profile? Am I then commuting a criminal act by misrepresenting myself online? Sure, jail time for lying about my weight online seems ridiculous – and it is, but the language of the law is concerning. Although federal prosecution for Facebooking at work is unlikely, it’s not out of the realm of possibility that prosecutors could stretch this law to its limits. It’s plausible that we could see some rather ridiculous cases in the future.” – WebProNews.com

“Imagine the Democratic Party setting up a public website and announcing that no Republicans can visit. Every Republican who checked out the site could be a criminal for exceeding authorized access.” WSJ Online.

So there you have it. Raytheon, Northrop Grumman and General Dynamics, among other US military suppliers, have their financial backers and secret leadership exposed for the world to see. In response, the Federal government makes it a felony and a terrorist act for you and me to lie about our weight on Facebook. And Congress wants to know why their approval rating is at 12 percent.

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