They’re going after our Internet, again, with CISPA
The Bill of Rights shouldn’t stop protecting our civil liberties when we go online. But the House just passed -- for the second session in a row -- the "Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act" (CISPA), which strips Americans of their constitutional rights when it comes to communications that we exchange over the Internet.
CISPA is a dangerous “cybersecurity” bill that would give corporations more power -- and sweeping legal immunity -- to obtain so-called “threat” information (such as from private communications of users) and to disclose that data to the U.S. government without a warrant. That means corporations could simply send your online communications and other data directly to the National Security Agency (NSA) without court order.
Tell your senators: Say no to online spying bill CISPA. The Bill of Rights still apply online.
Supporters of CISPA cynically used the legitimate need to protect our vital national interests from cyber-attacks as an excuse to give the government and private companies the authority to read, watch and listen to everything we do on the Internet.
CISPA would give the NSA — the spying agency controlled by the Department of Defense — additional power to snoop on our texts, our emails, our web history and everything else we do online. Corporations can even share your health records and banking information without anonymizing it.1
But most importantly, this bill makes it easier for the government to get information about us and what we do online from private companies without a court order, while preventing anyone from suing the government to stop this. CISPA turns websites into legally immune government spies.
Simple oversight mechanisms, like court review, can ensure law enforcement’s access to necessary intelligence while protecting our right to privacy. But those concerns haven’t been addressed in the current bill.
Tell your senators: Stop CISPA, the online spying bill. Don’t sell out our Constitutional rights.
Our allies in the fight to protect civil liberties, including EFF and the ACLU, vehemently oppose this bill. And even companies like Facebook -- which supported the bill last year -- are now backing off, agreeing that this bill goes too far and destroys the right to privacy online.2
President Obama has already issued a veto threat unless the serious privacy concerns are fixed. But in the wake of the Boston bombings, the short-sighted politicians in Washington DC could sacrifice the Constitution in the name of security. We can’t let this happen. The House just passed the bill. But the Senate can be our firewall. Members of the Senate killed the bill last year, and it’s important that they again hear from Americans about how why this bill shouldn’t even be introduced in their chamber.
Tell the Senate: Stop the online spying bill.
1. Zack Whittaker, "CISPA passes U.S. House: Death of the Fourth Amendment?" ZDnet, April 18, 2013.
2. Declan McCullagh, "Facebook unfriends CISPA cybersecurity bill over 'privacy'." cnet, March 14, 2013.