Civil liberties organizations launched a week of Internet-wide protests today against the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act of 2011 (CISPA), the controversial cybersecurity legislation that would negate existing privacy laws and allow companies to share user data with the government without a court order.
The coalition is urging the public to take part in a Twitter protest directed at their lawmakers. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has created an interactive tool for people to find their representatives and their Twitter handles, and to share how CISPA’s privacy invasions would affect their day-to-day lives.
“CISPA would allow ISPs, social networking sites, and anyone else handling Internet communications to monitor users and pass information to the government without any judicial oversight,” said EFF Activism Director Rainey Reitman. “The language of this bill is dangerously vague, so that personal online activity – from the mundane to the intimate – could be implicated.”
The campaign will use the hashtags #CongressTMI and #CISPA. In addition to the Twitter protest, organizations are planning letters of opposition and publishing articles outlining the civil liberties implications of the bill.
“Some people believe that we have to sacrifice civil liberties in order to shore up cybersecurity, but that’s misunderstanding both issues,” said EFF Senior Staff Attorney Lee Tien. “Giving companies carte blanche to bypass federal law does not make us safer – it puts us at more risk.”
CISPA is sponsored by Representatives Mike Rogers (R-MI) and C.A. “Dutch” Ruppersberger (D-MD). Stop Cyber Spying Week participants are calling on Congress to reject legislation that sacrifices civil liberties in the name of security, and specifically to reject any legislation that:
* Uses dangerously vague language to define the breadth of data that can be shared with the government.
* Hands the reins of America’s cybersecurity defenses to the NSA, an agency with no transparency and little accountability.
* Allows data shared with the government to be used for purposes unrelated to cybersecurity.
Participating groups include Access Now, American Civil Liberties Union, American Library Association, Avaaz, Bill of Rights Defense Committee, Canadian Internet Policy and Public Interest Clinic, Center for Democracy and Technology, The Constitution Project, Demand Progress, Electronic Frontier Foundation, Fight for the Future, Free Press, OpenMedia.ca, Open the Government, Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, Reporters Without Borders, Reverse Robo Call, Sunlight Foundation, Techdirt, and TechFreedom.
To take action against CISPA: http://cyberspying.eff.org/