Will CISPA be the end of a free world?

Will the internet remain the one open channel of communication where humanity can bypass filters and barriers?

'CISPA' is to keep us safe we're told. But from who?

Authoritarian regimes are pushing for full governmental control of the Internet in a binding global treaty -- if they succeed, the internet could become less open, more costly and much slower.

The Internet has been an amazing example of people power -- allowing us to connect, speak out and pressure leaders like never before. That's largely because it's been governed to date by users and non-profits, not governments. But now the USA are trying to pass a new law called the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) to bring the Internet under its control -- the web would then ultimately be shaped by government interests and not by us, the users.

Tim Berners Lee, one of the "fathers of the Internet," has warned that CISPA could increase censorship online and invade our privacy.

The somewhat ignorant question "if you've got nothing to hide then you've got nothing to be scared of" was put at me earlier today. That might be the case with things that are happening now, because people agree with most of the laws that are being passed today. Just imagine though, we get to the stage that laws are being forced upon us that we no longer consent to, by then with CISPA in action it'll be too late to protest.

"Anything you've ever said, posted, geo-tagged, typed or browsed could be used against you."

The worlds largest facial recognition database, you know, the one that is covered up and packaged as a convenient way to tag your friends in photos will be accessible by the worlds security services. Imagine ANPR for the human face. Imagine the state knowing your every move by combining CCTV with facial recognition.

What's interesting is Facebook is a key supporter of this bill. Just remember you're not the customer when the product is free.

An open and universal internet is the most effective tool we have to address the issues that affect the world at hand. Therefore protecting it is the most essential task that stands before our generation. We must not lose the internet. He who controls the internet controls the data, and he who controls the data controls our future.

"We're told we need safety, which is precious yes. But can a society that can enforce all of its laws ever progress?"

Many figures guilty of thought crime like Nelson Mandela turned out to be luminaries and heroes before their time. But if a surveillance state had silenced them just think of all the progress we would have been denied.

Would lobbies for women or gay rights have appeared and thrived? Would revolutionary ideals have materialised? Would science have pioneered or even survived if every word had been monitored by thought police and spies?

You can almost guarantee the powers will be used to spy on the general public rather than to pursue malicious hackers. Given the right to stick your nose in anywhere, you would right? I'd definitely have a poke around. Humans are curious beings, knowledge = power.

A totalitarian regime is not something I'd want to be part of. We fought world wars to eradicate policies and trends like this, let us not sit back and let this bill be passed.

They'll be freezing our collective hopes.

It doesn't protect our safety but it does protect the status quo. They threaten this internet, the one channel yet uncontrolled who's openness we are now called upon to protect and uphold.