The White House came out earlier this week stating that it opposes CISPA. Hundreds of thousands of citizens have called and written to Congress, urging their representatives to oppose CISPA. Yet, despite all this effort, the House passed the bill 248-168.
“CISPA goes too far for little reason,” said Michelle Richardson, ACLU legislative counsel, in a statement on Thursday. “Cybersecurity does not have to mean abdication of Americans’ online privacy. As we’ve seen repeatedly, once the government gets expansive national security authorities, there’s no going back. We encourage the Senate to let this horrible bill fade into obscurity.”
The legislation has drawn the ire of legislators, civil liberties groups, security practitioners and professors, and hundreds of thousands of petitioners, who say the bill tramples over users’ privacy rights as it allows Web firms like Google and Facebook to give private users’ information to government agencies irrespective of other laws that protect users’ privacy. “It’s basically a privacy nightmare,” says Trevor Timm, a lawyer and activist with the Electronic Frontier Foundation. “CISPA would allow companies to hand over private data to the government without a warrant, without anonymity, with no judicial review.”
But even before it passed, the House voted to amend the bill to actually allow even more types of private sector information to be shared with government agencies, not merely in matters of cybersecurity or national security, but in the investigation of vaguely defined cybersecurity “crimes,” “protection of individuals the danger of death or serious bodily harm,” and cases where that involve the protection of minors from exploitation.
That statute, which in effect widened the most controversial portion of the bill just hours before it came to a vote, is sure to draw even more controversy as the bill works its way through the legislative branch and reaches President Obama’s desk. President Obama currently backs a bill in the Senate put forward by Senators Joe Lieberman and Susan Collins, designed to increase the cybersecurity regulatory powers of the Department of Homeland security, which has been opposed by the GOP and stalled in the Senate.
Calling your representatives is always best as they take phone calls and written letters far more serious than online form letters or online petitions.
You can get all the information you need in one handy post with these links.