April 17, 2012
As the U.S. Congress continues its attempts to ramp up control of the Internet, members of several activist organizations are making use of grassroots efforts to showcase their opposition. Activists are now planning an entire “week of action” beginning today, to protest the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA). Authored by Reps. Mike Rogers (R-Mich., left) and Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.), CISPA would remove legal barriers that prevent companies from sharing information with one another with regard to cyber attacks.
According to The Hill:
Many of the groups leading the protest are veterans of the fight against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and [the] Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA), including the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the Center for Democracy and Technology, Free Press, Fight for the Future and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).
Brock Meeks, a spokesman for the Center for Democracy and Technology, said the protest will rely on similar tactics as the ones used to derail the anti-piracy bills, potentially including petitions and phone calls to members of Congress.
Supporters of CISPA claim that it seeks to give intelligence agencies and Internet companies more incentives to share information with one another about security threats, such as hackers. But according to Talking Points Memo, there is more to the bill than that.
“… CISPA, which is scheduled to hit the floor of the House of Representatives for debate and an eventual vote the week of April 23rd, has come under intensified criticism by Web user advocacy groups and writers in recent days,” reports TPM. “The bill’s critics contend that CISPA’s terms are too broad, and could be interpreted in a way that removes important legal checks for when and how companies may turn over Web user information to the government.”
Critics of the measure fear it will negatively impact user privacy because of its broad language. They assert that it could lead to companies exchanging information that is unrelated to potential cyber attacks, such as user names, addresses, and Internet activity.