hands off our internet

Okay, Guess It’s Time for Us to Learn What CISPA Is

The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act is intended to make it easier for federal agencies to get information from private companies that operate online services.
lolcat lobbyist Okay, Guess Its Time for Us to Learn What CISPA Is

(icanhascheezburger.com)

First SOPA, then ACTA, now CISPA—will the barrage of acronyms attacking the Internet never relent? Even the Obama Administration has condemned a bill that will hit the House of Representatives for debate on Thursday this week: the ominously-named Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, or the even ominous-er CISPA. The act is inspiring petitions, press releases and blog posts from the same fearmongering contingent that mobilized the opposition to the Stop Online Piracy Act.

“Right now, the US Congress is sneaking in a new law that gives them big brother spy powers over the entire web — and they’re hoping the world won’t notice. We helped stop their Net attack last time, let’s do it again,” reads the petition on the webby activist site Avaaz.org. The bill is opposed by Obama, Ron Paul, Tim Berners-Lee, online privacy advocate the Electronic Frontier Foundation, security experts and engineers, and other people who have bothered to learn about it. So we still need to know what it is?

CISPA is intended to give the federal government greater ability to collect information on individuals from private companies like Google, Facebook, Twitter, Match.com, Instagram and YouPorn. The most commonly-cited objection? The bill is too vague, even after reference to copyright and piracy were removed and amendments were introduced last week.

“Internet users across the political spectrum voiced their concerns with how the bill allows companies to spy on users, filter content, and transfer personal information to agencies like the NSA,” the EFF wrote after the amendments were introduced. “CISPA still allows companies to share lots of sensitive and private information about our internet use with the government,” is the ACLU’s interpretation.

The bill will hit Congress along with two less controversial—as of yet!—cybersecurity bills. With such widespread disapproval, CISPA seems unlikely to go forward, and we wonder how many times Internet activists can sound the alarms.

“Reddit, we took the anti-SOPA petition from 943,702 signatures to 3,460,313. The anti-CISPA petition is at 691,768, a bill expansively worse than SOPA. Please bump it, then let us discuss further measures or our past efforts are in vain. We did it before, I’m afraid we are called on to do it again,” wrote one user on Reddit, was was a stronghold of anti-SOPA activity. “Just want to say that people should SERIOUSLY call. I got off the line with mine on Friday, and they haven’t taken a stance yet because they wanted to see if ‘enough people in the district has a certain view,’” another user wrote in the same thread.

Ugh, how many times do we have to interrupt our browsing to call our Congresspeople? Seriously, someone get the Internet a lobbyist.

Follow Adrianne Jeffries on Twitter or via RSS. ajeffries@observer.com