Lawmakers are getting ready to talk about the controversial CISPA (Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act), which has sent many Internet freedom activists to speak out against it and encourage others to do the same. Reddit’s co-founder, Alex Ohanian has been featured in a video published by Fight for the Future, an online advocacy group. In the video, he appeals to major players in the online world to make their voices heard and oppose CISPA.
The CISPA cyber security bill is no stranger to controversy, as it isn’t really new. The bill was re-introduced in Congress recently, after it had died last year, when it was passed by a House vote despite the fact that President Obama threatened to veto it. Last year, the bill was never brought before the Senate and so never ended up on Obama’s desk. The main goal of CISPA is to let private corporations share rapidly share information related to cyber attacks with the government, as a propose measure to improve the country’s defenses against the threat of cyber attacks.
The House Intelligent Committee is meeting behind closed doors on Wednesday to discuss whether some amendments could be made so that the bill would seem more acceptable to online privacy advocates and the White House, who have raised concerns that CISPA will let private companies give out too much private information on citizens to the US Government.
A website, SaveYourPrivacyPolicy.org, was put together by Fight for the Future as a means to show opposition to CISPA and to gain the support of people against the proposed legislation, with the hope of generating an online opposition movement that helped stop SOPA (Stop Online Privacy Act) last year.
On the website, you can find Ohanian’s video and also send tweets that are hoped to get the attention of top decision makers in the online world such as Larry Page. Fight for the Future hopes that if enough users voice their discontent with the legislation, online giants will come out against it.
Looking back at last month, it would appear that Facebook dropped the support it initially had for the legislation. But the social networking giant is not alone. Over 30,000 companies, some small, while others being very popular in the online world (Craigslist, Mozilla and Reddit), have voiced an opposition to it.
Among the proposed amendments that will be discussed behind closed doors include propositions to remove any personally identifiable information about Internet users when corporations give cyber attack data to the government. Another proposed amendment would remove a provision in CISPA that would let the government use data received from private companies for national security uses.