The internet says no to CISPA, but will Congress?

This week, BORDC participated in the week of action against CISPA,the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act. Participants ranged from civil liberties advocates to major companies. Craigslist, Firefox, and Reddit all displayed anti-CISPA messages that allowed users to connect with online action opportunities. Since the week of action began, the list of supporters has continued to grow daily.

As we wrote several weeks ago, CISPA is back in front of Congress after it elicited significant opposition from the privacy and civil liberties world last year. Even those who argue that some form of cybersecurity is needed acknowledge that there are serious flaws in CISPA as written. The bill is riddled with problematic provisions, including immunity from civil or criminal liability for companies who share users' private information with the government, the ability to use intelligence information information they receive from the government for reasons completely unrelated to cybersecurity, including  commercial purposes, and authorization to share information directly with the National Security Agency.

While many of the major corporations that supported the bill last year have maintained that support, there is one noteable absence: Facebook. While the company has not come out in vocal opposition, Facebook reps did tell Cnet that the company: "prefer[s] a legislative 'balance' that ensures 'the privacy of our users.'" Microsoft is also absent from the list of CISPA supporters this year, while other big corporations like AT&T and IBM continue to support the legislation.

That support has not only taken the form of letters sent to the House Intelligence Committee. One of the sponsors of the bill, Rep. Mike Rogers (MI-08-R) made a major gaffe this week. He retweeted a a story that revealed that members of the House Intelligence Committee "have received, on average, 15 times more money in campaign contributions from pro-CISPA organizations than from anti-CISPA organizations." He deleted his tweet 23 minutes later, but not before the Sunlight Foundation got a screen shot of it. His tweet is a prime example of why CISPA is so concerning; it is being driven by the lobbying of corporations with horrible privacy track records that will be shielded from liability and potentially make millions off shared information.

At this point, it is likely that a vote on CISPA will take place in mid-April, which means there is still plenty of time to contact your representative to tell them what you know about the bill. Be sure to watch our blog, as well as BORDC ally EFF's homepage for continuing updates.

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