The privacy-shredding Internet spying bill - CISPA - has passed the House. The only chance is now to STOP IT in the USAmerican Senate. Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian also urges us to contact Google, Facebook and Twitter and demand that they stand up to defeat CISPA.
For those of you outside the USA who think this has nothing to do with you.... plain wrong!
It has everything to do with you, because there is nothing that you do on the internet that is not tracked, traced and monitored via companies in the USofA.
To refresh your memory, Demand Progress co-founder Aaron Swartz called CISPA 1.0 a Patriot Act for the Internet. The bill gives companies like Verizon and AT&T protection from customers' lawsuits when they give the Feds information about your Internet use.
But now they've rebooted the effort, and Rolling Stone Magazine said that with CISPA 2.0, "Congress is trying to kill Internet privacy again.
Amazingly, the USACongress and big businesses are claiming they need to violate our privacy to protect us from Iranian and Chinese hackers, but they refuse to put any basic privacy protections in writing.
Look who the corporate foes are:
In anticipation of a full vote in the House this week, industry giant IBM had sent nearly 200 senior execs to Washington to lobby in support of CISPA.
And their intentions are clear. CISPA would empower them to share your private data with the military without a warrant -- and they wouldn't hesitate to do so.
Chris Padilla, IBM's VP of governmental affairs told TheHill.com that IBM and other corporations "should be able to work directly and share information directly" with the National Security Agency "because that's where the expertise is."
CISPA (the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act) would give companies complete freedom to share your personal data with the US government. It doesn't require them to do so, but if the government asked it would be hard to say no, and they'd have no reason to-- CISPA would free them from any promises made to customers in public statements or privacy policies.
Your emails, your Facebook account, your bank statements, the websites you visit, your real-time location (courtesy of your cellphone company)-- all of it could soon belong to a slew of government agencies and even local police, who could use it against you without a warrant.
We have to stop this bill from becoming law and eviscerating our hard-won civil liberties and privacy rights.
Despite an outpouring of opposition from the ACLU, Electronic Frontier Foundation, and over 100,000 Demand Progress members, the House Intelligence committee had already voted to approve CISPA--a cyber-security bill that would give companies unprecedented power to share your private information with the government, including the intelligence agencies like the NSA, without a warrant, if it ever would become law.
The bill was was fast-tracked through the House for a full vote - and unfortunately was passed on Wednesday.
The majority in the House even didn't want to question why USAmerican President Obama himself already had threatened to 'bypass Congress' on CISPA with a cybersecurity executive order: If unable to reach a deal with Congress, President Obama had planned to use his power to exert executive actions against the will of lawmakers and VETO their decisions.
But he didn't need to, which leads to the question: Were the Representatives conditioned to aver the whip and just take the goodies from the seconding corporate clowns?
We need to reiterate our opposition to this dangerous legislation loud and clear and if you are a USAmerican citizen, then
tell your representative s/he did not protect online privacy and oppose CISPA and now lost YOUR VOTE and SUPPORT.
However, our collective efforts stopped CISPA from becoming law last year, and we still can do it again. But we must be vigilant and keep putting our pressure now on the Senate members.
Now, as before, we cannot sacrifice our hard-won liberties and privacy rights in the pursuit of a misguided and over-broad conception of pseudo-"security."
... AND WE CAN WIN !
Last week we told you about that frightening new proposal that actually would have expanded and harshened the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act -CFAA - the law that makes it a potential federal crime to violate a website's fine-print terms of service agreement.
We asked you to help us stop it in its tracks. Well, here's the big headline:
HUFFINGTON POST: Internet Activists Win First-Round Victory In Fight Over Anti-Hacking Law
It required a mad (exhausting) fury of activism and lobbying, but it looks like we've won this battle. In a huge rally in Boston - activists went offline and took to the streets. And it was a great success.
Activists rallied down-town and marched to the court house where Aaron's trial would've been coming to a close this week, and demanded criminal justice reform and accountability for the prosecutors.
This rally capped off a couple of weeks of activism in opposition to that expansion proposal and in support of CFAA reform -- which included 150,000 or so emails to Congress, thousands of tweets and phone calls, and a dozen meetings on Capitol Hill with key Congressional offices.
As the Huffington Post reported:
Internet activists won a major victory this week when House Republicans put the brakes on an effort to vote on reforms to federal anti-hacking laws. The reforms had become a legislative flashpoint in the wake of the death of Aaron Swartz, an Internet activist who was facing a bevy of charges under the controversial Computer Fraud and Abuse Act (CFAA) before committing suicide in January.
So as you can see, our work together and in Aaron's spirit is having a concrete impact. The ground has shifted in our favour, on the CFAA and on Internet freedom in general.
We shocked the political establishment by responding to the new CFAA proposal so quickly, and we have ever-growing credibility and clout with policymakers and the media as we make our case about these issues that we all hold so dear.
But we'll of course need to keep pressing forward.
In addition to the CFAA, we need to return our focus now on fighting the privacy-obliterating cyber-snooping CISPA bill now in the USAmerican Senate, and there's much more on the horizon.
Please support those at the forefront and go to Demand Progress (DemandProgress.org) to read more and click here if you're able to donate 5, 10, or 20 dollars so the movement can keep on fighting.
Also link up with the Internet Defense League (IDL) and the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF):
U.S. House of Representatives Shamefully Passes CISPA; Internet Freedom Advocates Prepare for a Battle in the USA Senate
James Madison, in Federalist 51, explained: "If men were angels, no government would be necessary," and Thomas Jefferson wrote in 1798: "In questions of power . . . let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution." Six years earlier, John Adams warned: "There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty."
(Thanks to Glen Greenwald for compiling this.)