CISPA — Throwing sand in our eyes?

cispa-logoI admit I’m confused. The past week I’ve been bombarded with emails from Demand Progress to urge Americans to tell Obama to veto CISPA — the latest incarnation on the SOPA/PIPA style of legislation which will allow police forces and intelligence agencies to get copies of users’ content (emails and so forth) without search warrants. Because SOPA/PIPA raised such an international uproar — as many citizens of other countries, most notably France, suddenly realised their own governments had already taken steps to curb digital privacy, which they weren’t aware of — US legislators have been way more subtle this year, and sneaked in CISPA with some strong support from companies like Amazon and Yahoo, avoiding public exposure.

But now MediaPost seems to have reported that the opposite has been approved: that all email communications in the US, like snail mail, need (once more) to get a warrant to be released to police forces, and not merely a subpoena, like (allegedly) is currently the case. And, again, Amazon and Yahoo are cited as being quite in favour of this measure.

So are these two completely different bills? Which one really got approved? Or is this just an even sneakier way to completely baffle the public, by introducing two opposing bills and expecting the public (and most likely the representatives) to be so confused about them that they will not even notice that their online privacy rights have — once more — been subverted, right under the public’s nose?