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Microsoft Backs Away From CISPA Support, Citing Privacy 132

Posted by Soulskill
from the seeing-which-way-the-wind-is-blowing dept.
suraj.sun writes "CISPA, the hotly-contested cybersecurity bill making its way through Congress, has been supported by Microsoft since it was introduced. However, the company now tells CNET that any such legislation must 'honor the privacy and security promises we make to our customers,' while also 'protecting consumer privacy.' As you may recall, the U.S. House passed CISPA on Thursday. The Obama administration has threatened to veto the bill. Quoting CNET: 'That's a noticeable change — albeit not a complete reversal — from Microsoft's position when CISPA was introduced in November 2011. To be sure, Microsoft's initial reaction to CISPA came before many of the privacy concerns had been raised. An anti-CISPA coalition letter (PDF) wasn't sent out until April 16, and a petition that garnered nearly 800,000 signatures wasn't set up until April 5. What makes CISPA so controversial is a section saying that, "notwithstanding any other provision of law," companies may share information with Homeland Security, the IRS, the NSA, or other agencies. By including the word "notwithstanding," CISPA's drafters intended to make their legislation trump all existing federal and state laws, including ones dealing with wiretaps, educational records, medical privacy, and more.'"
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Microsoft Backs Away From CISPA Support, Citing Privacy

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  • This is a first for Microsoft, protecting users' privacy.

    • Or a token move.

      How much they care for privacy is seen in the way they implement their OS and apps. I don't judge them in that regard, BIT before you judge, try to see how other players in the field, esp. Debian, tackle the problem of broadcasting the OS, the updates, and get optional feedback (popcon).

    • This is a first for Microsoft, protecting users' security.

      FTFY

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I worked at Microsoft until recently, and although in general I don't have many good things to say about the company, I do think they care about privacy. In general at Microsoft they are very concerned about the letter of the law, and about public opinion. They don't necessarily care about these things out of idealism or very deep beliefs, but there is a great fear of overstepping legal bounds.

    • Even evil has standards.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      I am, it's actually GOOD to see they have enough character to 1st support something, then to see that users DO NOT WANT IT, & to back clear away from it too.

      * See subject-line, if that's what you really feel is a "1st" from them then...

      APK

      P.S.=> You've got to understand that BIG & POWERFUL as M$ is (& I am definitely a 'fanboy' of theirs + everyone around here knows that much), that YES, they too, have been "hassled" by government & know what THAT's about, & turning THE REPUBLICANS ht [house.gov]

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Seriously? What is wrong with you guys? How in the fuck did you even come up with a system where non related shit can be tacked on to a bill? Is it bullshit that got added on later or were your vaunted founding fathers slightly retarded?

    • by bleedingsamurai (2539410) on Saturday April 28, 2012 @12:50PM (#39832383)

      A democracy only works when the public isn't mainly comprised of morons. I blame shitty public education.

      • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Saturday April 28, 2012 @01:01PM (#39832465)
        I blame the fact that most Americans have no idea why their rights are important, or what life would be like without those rights. We are already starting to get our feet wet with this, but people need to be tossed in head first before they really understand the issues. When people are being asked for their papers before being allowed to cross state lines, when their search histories are scrutinized whenever they try to spend money, when it becomes impossible to live without breaking laws and bribing cops, then people will understand -- but by then it will be too late anyway.
        • But I feel this can still come back to poor public education.
          I was only required to take one "Civics" class really didn't have anything coherent to say.
          It stead of forcing us to memorize the Bill of Rights they should have actually explained what they did for citizens. We didn't even break down the Constitution and discuss what powers are given to the Federal government and are reserved for State governments. ect. ect.

        • The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time.

        • by alexgieg (948359)

          I blame the fact that most Americans have no idea why their rights are important, or what life would be like without those rights. We are already starting to get our feet wet with this, but people need to be tossed in head first before they really understand the issues.

          I remember a political text I read years ago in which the author was of the opinion that every democracy should experience a few years (or decades, as is wont to happen) of fascism to both fully appreciate the value of what's been lost as well as to learn what stupid mistakes to avoid next time around...

          • I remember a political text I read years ago in which the author was of the opinion that every democracy should experience a few years (or decades, as is wont to happen) of fascism to both fully appreciate the value of what's been lost as well as to learn what stupid mistakes to avoid next time around...

            Right. Because the US Civil war was such a wonderful experience and improved 'democracy' for all citizens.

            Sorry, it's just a bit more complex than that. You just don't hit CTL-ALT-DELETE and reboot a society.

          • by BlueStrat (756137)

            I blame the fact that most Americans have no idea why their rights are important, or what life would be like without those rights. We are already starting to get our feet wet with this, but people need to be tossed in head first before they really understand the issues.

            I remember a political text I read years ago in which the author was of the opinion that every democracy should experience a few years (or decades, as is wont to happen) of fascism to both fully appreciate the value of what's been lost as well as to learn what stupid mistakes to avoid next time around...

            No generation of people, once their freedom has been lost, has ever recovered that freedom during that generation. The only hope at that point is to pass to the next generation a love and desire for freedom

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by roman_mir (125474)

          We are already starting to get our feet wet with this

          - starting? The only obvious difference between what's been going on for about 100 years in USA now and what's been happening since 9/11 is that before the transgressions against individual rights only hit minorities (employers and investors mostly but also other individual property owners), while what's happening now is hitting the majority (everybody else).

          The rights of individuals were been compromised in USA for a long time now and when I say that I include the right to pursuit of happiness, as in - g

          • The only obvious difference between what's been going on for about 100 years in USA now and what's been happening since 9/11 is that before the transgressions against individual rights only hit minorities (employers and investors mostly but also other individual property owners)

            Because when I look at the history of the United States, and I consider the minorities that have at various times had their individual rights trampled, business owners and venture capitalists are the first on my list.

          • by catprog (849688)

            as they are not hurting other individuals in the process

            Employes say work all 7 days or your fired. Unions step in and protect the workers. the unions need protection too.

            printing currency/income tax: how else are you going to build the infrastructure to run the country.

            Minimum wages,SS and medicare stop people from being forced to work for low pay in bad jobs

            Wars I probably would agree with you on.

            property/ownership , I am not sure which regulations you have in mind. .

    • by PPH (736903)

      I'm not sure this is a case of unrelated crap being tacked onto a bill (not that this doesn't happen all too often). This is a bill that deals with information sharing between law enforcement and private businesses. It's scope may prove to be much wider that what its authors claim. But its more a matter of unintended consequences of the legislation rather than some extra language being slipped in.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 28, 2012 @01:01PM (#39832455)

      It happened because the public is too involved making sure their party gets elected, right or wrong, to give a fuck about what their party is actually doing. This kind of thinking has all the trappings of a high school football game. The sooner that people abandon their party the sooner we get back to being where we need to be. The current division in American trust is split along party lines and even when both "sides" agree they refuse to come to terms because they see it as taking on the banner of the enemy.
       
      People planet wide will suffer for what has happened for decades to come.

      • The current division in American trust is split along party lines and even when both "sides" agree they refuse to come to terms because they see it as taking on the banner of the enemy.

        I see. So, it's quite clear... What we need is a common enemy. One who will unite the nation as one against the undefeatable diabolical foe....
        -- Don't you see the Terrorists are TRYING to help?!

    • yo anonymous coward, troll much?
    • Seriously? What is wrong with you guys? How in the fuck did you even come up with a system where non related shit can be tacked on to a bill? Is it bullshit that got added on later or were your vaunted founding fathers slightly retarded?

      We don't care that our government has been stripping away our rights and privacy for years because we are too concerned with stupid shit that happened on tv last night. I could go on but you all know the story.

      • Actually the founding fathers had it right because they had to fight for their liberty. Now we only fight when the president declares war without approval from Congress. Fucking bush should have been impeached for that shit. All Clinton did was get a blow job and put his cigar where it didn't belong. Bush got several thousand people killed and they still hate us in the middle east.
    • by symbolset (646467) *
      There's no such thing as a political system that doesn't become corrupt over time. It's the nature of men. The founding fathers were aware of this, and took steps.
  • by tommasorepetti (2485820) on Saturday April 28, 2012 @12:51PM (#39832387)
    With corporate backers of CISPA including Facebook, there is room for tech giants to secure some quick PR gains in the tech community with this. I think many people found the Windows 8 developer/consumer preview underwhelming, if not annoying. Seriously, Windows without a Start menu? I'm starting to believe the Mayans about what's supposed to happen in December. What was more alarming about this Windows 8 business, is how closed Microsoft was to popular opinion. The Windows 7 RC generated massive contributions. (It actually did... I am not just citing the "Windows 7 wsa my idea" ad campaign.) It seems that Windows 8 was entirely Microsoft's idea. If they want to be numb to the complaints of their own fanbase and turn Windows 8 into the bastard child of a currently non-existent Windows tablet and a Windows 7 PC, that is cool... I run Linux anyway. I was only responding to the developer preview to help them out. I do not think political PR stunts like this can change the fact that Microsoft is turning into a corporation more and more out of touch with their own customer base. Seriously, try to explain to corporate America why a clusterfuck start screen of different apps helps productivity. Windows 8 may be the greatest giveaway to RHEL ever, and not even appealing to populist disgust with CISPA is going to change that.
    • by Sique (173459)

      I'm starting to believe the Mayans about what's supposed to happen in December.

      Completely offtopic, but you actually wouldn't believe the Mayans, because no single Mayan ever claimed that the world would come to an end, if a Long Period ends. This is just made up by some guys in other countries wanting to make a quick buck by selling "old myths of the navite people" books which predict dire doom to everyone.
      If anything, the Mayan Calendar Doom is just intellectual colonialism - stealing some cultural artefacts and reselling them out of context to others.

      On the other hand, Microsoft pl

      • On the other hand, Microsoft plans to sell their Cloud Services to Europeans too, and if they want to do that they have to make sure that their services follow European Law, and that means that they can't at the same time follow CISPA

        They could just operate one data center in the USA and one in Europe, and serve both markets with the same software. In the early 90s, Microsoft was worried about Europeans not buying their products because the NSA was pushing for back doors; this time around, Microsoft only needs to separate their customers by region. They might not even need two data centers; just one, with a region column in each table that dictates which laws and privacy rights need to be respected.

    • by game kid (805301)

      They can capitalize on this, if they try; they haven't tried yet. What they've said now isn't a reversal at all, just a clarification at best. They probably already think CESSPOOL^WCISPA "helps to tackle the real threat of cybercrime while protecting consumer privacy", or can be massaged a bit to do so--especially if it helps make them look tough on "piracy" of their software.

      How does MS cap on this, to regain whatever goodwill they bled from their customers and not look like they'll happily whore themsel

    • the real sign that Mayans where is the cubs wining but that does not look like it will happen this year.

      But windows 8 is fast becoming windows ME 2. ME sucked so bad that people wanted 98se over it.

      I do hope that some of the new under the hood stuff get's back ported or shows up in a Unofficial Service Pack like how the Unofficial Windows 98 SE Service Pack adds some of new stuff that was in windows ME.

  • by olsmeister (1488789) on Saturday April 28, 2012 @12:55PM (#39832407)
    They will keep putting forward bill after bill, chipping away privacy rights a little at a time if necessary. Any setback is merely temporary for them. Time (and money) is on their side.

    What someone should be doing is introducing legislation that enumerates, codifies, and protects specific rights and expectations of privacy that citizens have, and then work the anti-terrorist/copying/IP laws around that framework. (I know, we shouldn't need to do this, but it's our system apparently.) This is bass-ackwards.
    • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Saturday April 28, 2012 @01:12PM (#39832525)

      What someone should be doing is introducing legislation that enumerates, codifies, and protects specific rights and expectations of privacy that citizens have

      You would have to amend the constitution for that. Here is how I would word such an amendment:

      The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

      Of course, there is no way anyone would dare to include such language in our constitution, at a time when we are surrounded by enemies who are hell-bent on destroying our nation. We could be attacked at any time; how can we even think of codifying such a right in our constitution?

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

        For those of you who didn't get the reference, that is the 4th Amendment of the US Constitution, proposed in 1789, and enacted in 1791.

    • Evidently, the gov't is incapable of properly crafting laws (or, more likely, intentionally leaving loopholes through which they can do anything they want).

      http://it.slashdot.org/story/12/04/27/1529239/who-needs-cispa-fbi-has-a-non-profit-workaround [slashdot.org]

      If it's this simple to 'get around' laws preventing the transfer of certain types information from business to government (by sending it through a third-party), or route internet traffic through Canada so the FBI can process everything (where they can't do it in

  • Ok If no one knows (Score:4, Informative)

    by fermion (181285) on Saturday April 28, 2012 @01:05PM (#39832481) Homepage Journal
    To be sure, Microsoft's initial reaction to CISPA came before many of the privacy concerns had been raised. An anti-CISPA coalition letter (PDF) wasn't sent out until April 16, and a petition that garnered nearly 800,000 signatures wasn't set up until April 5.

    So in other words MS was perfectly willing to allow the US government access to all it's customers data and machines without a warrant or any kind of reasonable probable cause as long as it was on the down low. But when it is publicized, they decide it is not such a s good idea. This situation leads credence that MS might already supply customer data on demand to the US government [judiciaryreport.com], so this is really SNAFU.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday April 28, 2012 @02:56PM (#39833071)

    This bill supercedes the US constitution. Its a blank cheque to the content industries. For Americans wanting anything left of their civil liberties, they should fight this. Americans send missiles, guns, ships, and bombs to other countries to protect their interests. Why is no one sending these materials to the content industries that have effectively enslaved them? The content industries can commit capital crimes (murder, slavery, torture, anything they like) because of this bill. They crossed the line. Its a disgrace to all those who fought in any war in the US. The gutless legislators who supported this sold the farm. They don't deserve citizenship. The US can no longer be called a democracy, because it isn't.

  • Microsoft pro privacy? Last I looked their mainstay platform was vulnerable to keyloggers, backdoors (some installed during development at the behest of the US GOVERNMENT), over a quarter million malware strains... with those kind of numbers I don't think it was sloppy coding that did it, I think it was done deliberately. If they were concerned about security and privacy we wouldn't have an anti-malware industry that sucks in more money than the SOHO industry because it'll've been done right at RTM and ther

  • Forget the 1% vs 99% debate.
    Forget the economic debates.
    Forget the debates over healthcare, abortion, contraception, the environment, climate change, trade, copyright, patents or anything else.

    The #1 issue in the United States of America is that there is a government and congress in Washington that continues to pass laws and carry out acts that violate the civil liberties and constitutionally protected rights of ordinary Americans, rights that George Washington and 100s of Americans fought to preserve.

    And t

  • "CISPA, the hotly-contested cybersecurity bill making its way through Congress, has been supported by Microsoft since it was introduced..."

    Ok, I will admit that I am a Windows user and I don't find Microsoft the worst company on the planet though something seems weird with this. Just because they have stopped supporting it now citing "privacy", we are meant to applaud them? They initially supported it so while it might seem like a good move now, the didn't have this problem a week ago.

    It might be an attempt

  • A list of every congress person and senator who votes for this bill should be compiled and put onto a Black List. Then informed voters can let them know that they will be voted out of office next elections for actions against the People of the United States

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