More than 30,000 websites, including big names like Reddit and Craigslist, are participating in a brand new campaign opposing the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act – a bill you probably know as CISPA. The campaign was launched by the the Internet Defense League – a collaboration between organizations against the bill, including Mozilla, Reddit, and WordPress – and the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
When you go to participating websites, you’ll see an interactive banner (shown below) that says “CISPA is back. This bill sacrifices privacy without improving security. We deserve both.” You can use the banner to send out automated messages to your representatives in Congress by entering your ZIP code.
The controversial CISPA bill passed the House of Representatives last year but failed to get through Senate. It was then exhumed from its grave this February, and the new bill reintroduced to Congress is basically a dupe of the old one. If CISPA becomes a law, it would give businesses and federal government the right to exchange “cyber threat intelligence.” Proponents of the bill claim it’s all about making computers safer in the U.S. by upping their defenses against hackers or digital terrorists.
Internet privacy advocates such as those behind this campaign, however, are concerned that CISPA could be used to provide government agencies, like the U.S. military’s National Security Agency, with citizen’s private information. Critics also claim that the bill fails to impose proper oversight to ensure shared data is being used properly, and gives companies blanket immunity to share its data, as long as it does so in good faith.
Proponents of the bill, including CISPA authors Reps. Mike Rogers (R-MI) and Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD), firmly deny the concerns of detractors, saying that the bill provides adequate safeguards for civil liberties.
The House of Representatives will be voting on the bill in April, but even if it passes, it still has to go through Senate and will only be a law if the president doesn’t veto it like he threatened to last year.
We’ve seen the Defend Privacy banner on Reddit. What sites have you seen it on?