Watch out for this: New bill called CISPA, just like SOPA and PIPA, but worse

A new bill called 'CISPA' is the next version of SOPA/PIPA. It's got much more power behind it though - Internet companies like Facebook, Verizon and Microsoft support it. Photo credit: Digital Trends

A new U.S. centered bill has been proposed that would give law enforcement officials the power to push aside the legal barriers that prevent internet companies from handing your information over to the government.

Sound familiar?

Remember SOPA and PIPA, those failed bills that wanted to give the government the power to police the internet for pirated content?

While they may have failed, another new bill has been proposed that has been flying under the radar in comparison to SOPA and PIPA.

The bill is called CISPA, which stands for the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (PDF) which is also known as H.R. 3523.

But this bill is worse than SOPA and PIPA because it has the approval of 28 companies like Facebook, IBM, Intel, Microsoft, Verizon, Oracle and Symantec.

Yikes!

So what differentiates CISPA from SOPA and PIPA?

Not much.

The only major difference is that CISPA is about cyber security and SOPA/PIPA were about intellectual property.

But the authors of CISPA, Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI), and Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD), want you to think that CISPA is “nothing like SOPA.”

Don’t believe it!

It’s still an overreach of governmental power just like with SOPA. But since the outcry over SOPA and PIPA has died down, the Congressmen think that people have put their guard down.

CNET does a good job explaining what CISPA is all about in this quote:

CISPA is primarily a surveillance bill. With CISPA, a company like Google, Facebook, Twitter, or AT&T could intercept your e-mails and text messages, send copies to one another and to the government, and keep it from being sent if it fits into a plan to stop “cybersecurity” threats.

There has also been a revision to CISPA, but they didn’t change much and it’s still a scary piece of legislation.

What are your thoughts about bills like CISPA, SOPA and PIPA?

Is it an overreach of government power?

If you’re not sure what to think, the video below from RT America helps to explain in more detail what CISPA is all about.

NY Times: Unlimited data for mobile devices soon a thing of the past

New data plans from cell phone service providers may be on the way, according to an article from the NY Times. Photo credit: Politico.com

The way you use data on your mobile device (smartphone, tablet) may soon determine how much you pay for cellular service, according to a New York Times article.

The way that customers are currently charged for data on Verizon and AT&T’s networks is based on a tiered plan – you pay a flat rate for a certain amount of data you can use per month.

But American wireless providers may soon change to a new plan that’s being used in Indonesia – a country where almost a third of the population is under 15 years old.

The idea behind the new data plans is you pay based on what you use data for.

In Indonesia, for example, there is a new plan called ‘FlexiChat’ for people who want one thing: to be able to check and update Facebook and Twitter on their phone.

Why it’s important

Benefits of pay how you use plans are:

  • more efficient use of data on already stressed networks
  • heavy data users pay for that usage

Edit: To help make this concept easier to understand, the best way to think about the new plans is this:

  • companies will charge less for customers who don’t do data intensive tasks (mainly checking and updating Facebook, Twitter, e-mail)
  • companies will charge more for customers who frequently do data intensive tasks (frequently streaming videos from services like YouTube, streaming music from Pandora)

From the New York Times’ article, referring to the new plans based on how you use data:

“This is going to have a direct effect on data plans around the world,” said Hans Vestberg, chief executive of Ericsson, the leading maker of mobile networking equipment.

“Without more efficient use of networks, the vast majority of people on this planet will be cut off from the Internet.”

If you’re confused, here’s a video that might help: