The recent developments in the United States Senate seem to have created an opportunity for bitcoin to become the currency of the future. Earlier this week, the senate ended up passing the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act better known in its abbreviated form – CISA. The act will now facilitate information sharing between companies and the US government.
The main purpose of CISA is to make it easier for governments to collect personal information of internet users easily and more openly from companies in possession of it. Previously, sharing personal information without consent or without a court order qualified as illegal and companies were liable for compromising the privacy of individual(s) whose information was shared without authorisation. However, with the implementation of CISA, companies sharing their customer/user information with the government agencies are indemnified from such charges. According to CISA, these companies will no longer be obliged to comply with Freedom of Information Act requests regarding the shared data.
With CISA, the United States now shows all signs of a police state in the making. This also puts individuals at risk, taking away their right to privacy and any other possible protections one enjoyed under the Fifth Amendment of the US Constitution in the form of rights to protect oneself from self-incrimination and the exclusionary rule. CISA will now enable government agencies to target, arrest and charge individuals or groups by collecting evidence in violation of the Fifth Amendment with the help of shared data. Under CISA companies will be free to share any private and sensitive data including ones health records, bank account information, internet history and more.
Introduction of CISA and the resulting unlimited powers to violate privacy has made client level encryption ad encrypted communication protocols a need of the hour. With no personal information safe from the eyes of the government it now makes perfect sense for people who care about privacy to explore alternate options. Bitcoin and the technology behind it can be a perfect example of such alternate options.
The decentralized nature of bitcoin combined with the security and a certain degree of anonymity the digital currency offers when used following the best practices makes it an excellent tool. At the same time decentralized internet networks like Maidsafe and applications built over that platform can be utilized by people instead of regular internet services to minimize the amount of data that falls into the hands of companies who can potentially hand it out to the government. When it comes to communications, clients like Darkmail which offers end-to-end encryption are can offer an alternative to services run by Google, Microsoft and other US based multinational corporations.
It is just a matter of time before CISA is misused by the government and it may as well act as a tipping point for the emergence and wide spread adoption of bitcoin and other lesser-known platforms and services.