Patriot Act 2: Obama Executive Order Will Promote Sharing Of Confidential Information With Corporations


Patriot Act I was not enough for those who seek total control. Therefore, by Executive Order, we now have Patriot Act II.

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Here come the “information sharing and analysis organizations”, or ISAOs.

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In the aftermath of the Snowden whistleblowing scandal which has now all but been forgotten, there was a brief period when it seemed the growth of the US spying apparatus would be halted if not put into reverse. Those days are long forgotten and later today Obama is expected to to sign an executive order “that aims to make it easier for the government to share classified cyberthreat information with companies.”

The spin, as proposed by the WSJ, is that “this will be effort designed to spur collaboration and deter hackers, the White House said.” In reality what Obama’s latest executive order will do, is expand the universe of entities that has access to the trove of private confidential data contained in the vast government spying apparatus, which as has been made all too clear now focuses as much on US citizens as it does on legitimate foreign threats, and further eviscerate the concept of individual privacy in the US.

From Reuters:

The order sets the stage for new private-sector led “information sharing and analysis organizations” (ISAOs) – hubs where companies share cyber threat data with each other and with the Department of Homeland Security.

It is one step in a long effort to make companies as well as privacy and consumer advocates more comfortable with proposed legislation that would offer participating companies liability protection, the White House said.

“We believe that by clearly defining what makes for a good ISAO, that will make tying liability protection to sectoral organizations easier and more accessible to the public and to privacy and civil liberties advocates,” said Michael Daniel, Obama’s cyber coordinator, in a conference call with reporters.

Obama will sign the order shortly during a conference on cybersecurity at Stanford University in the heart of Silicon Valley.

As the WSJ adds, “much could depend on whether intelligence agencies such as the National Security Agency and the Central Intelligence Agency participate in any arrangement that allows classified information to be shared with companies.” Sadly, if history is any guide, the NSA, whose “safekeeping” of private US citizen data has a woeful track record, will be quite instrumental in spearheading an effort which many have dubbed the Patriot Act for the digital age.

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