Column: We must take a stand to protect online privacy rights

Column: We must take a stand to protect online privacy rights

Erick Pirayesh, News Editor

Big brother is watching you.

Or at least, he’s trying to.

Last week, in a touching act of bipartisanship, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act by a vote of 288 to 127.

At long last, the wait is over, the seas have parted and Republicans and Democrats finally agree on something.

It’s too bad this bill totally sucks.

The act would “allow elements of the intelligence community to share cyber-threat intelligence with private-sector entities and utilities and to encourage the sharing of such intelligence.” Meaning that if there were a “cyber attack,” corporations like Facebook and Amazon could share the private information of its users with the federal government.

In a 2012 survey conducted by Internetworldstats.com, more than 245 million Americans use the Internet. Almost everyone who is online has, at one point, input his or her personal and financial information into a website.

There’s nothing wrong with wanting to be prepared. In this age of technology, the threat of a cyber attack is very real.

This loosely worded bill, however, is not the answer. It is invasive and a danger to American civil liberties.

We all just have to trust that no one will abuse access to the sensitive information that most of us have floating around on the net. It’s a shortsighted view and one we cannot support.

Supporters of the act say this bill is necessary “to protect the national security of the United States.”

“National security.”

What a wonderful term that is completely defined at the discretion of the government. In the name of national security, not only can we blow you up with a drone missile, but also we have the right to know what dirty novels you’ve been purchasing off Amazon.

All in the name of national security, of course.

Luckily, last night the Senate killed the privacy act before ever even voting on it. However, this fight isn’t over yet and a new bill will surely rise up to take its place.

As college students no one understands the Internet better than us. Contact your government representatives and voice your displeasure for this unnecessary and invasive mindset.

Sometimes, to get a point across, you just have to hit big brother right where it hurts.