The anonymous hacker is quickly replacing the terrorist as the go-to bogeyman in the American cultural imagination. Like Islamist radicals, the kinds of hackers that have brought down the servers of corporate giants and government agencies are mysterious and stealthy, spreading fear and paranoia from a faraway land. In April, President Obama made the ideological connection between the two official with an Executive Order declaring a national emergency due to “malicious cyber-enabled activities” which constitute “an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States.” Both the Islamist radical and the Chinese, North Korean, or Russian hacker are frightening specters who deserve the attention of the American government. But as much as the federal government granted itself sweeping and invasive authority to violate the rights of millions of Americans in the name of fighting terror, today’s government once again steps over Constitutional boundaries in the name of keeping Americans safe from a new kind of threat. The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA), part of Obama’s increased push for cybersecurity in response to last year’s Sony Pictures hack, represents such a step. The bill sounds innocuous enough: It encourages companies to share data about […]
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