Special Alert – CISPA Goes to The Floor for a Vote
One way another CISPA will affect everyone, Americans or not!
Please read the below article carefully. If you feel as strongly
as Privacy World does about another unwanted instruction into
our privacy, we urge you to take immediate action.
CISPA Goes to The Floor for a Vote, Privacy Amendments Blocked
– Mark M. Jaycox and Kurt Opsahl and Rainey Reitman, EFF.org
Yesterday, the US House prepared for the debate on the
privacy-invading “cybersecurity” bill called CISPA, the Cyber
Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act. The rules committee hearing
was the last stop before the bill is voted on by the full House.
In the hearing, Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI) was questioned about the
core problems in the bill, like the broad immunity and new
corporate spying powers. In response, he characterized users who
oppose CISPA as “14 year olds” tweeting in a basement.
The bill may be voted on as early as Wednesday. This means there’s
little time left to speak out. Please tell your Representative to vote no
on the bill:
Call your Representative
Tweet at your Representative
Here are some of the takeaways from the hearing.
Rep. Rogers Dismisses CISPA Opponents as Teenage Basement Tweeters
After a heated exchange about the overly broad legal immunity,
Rep. Jared Polis (D-CO) noted the widespread opposition to
CISPA by Internet users. In response, Rep. Rogers characterized
opponents to CISPA as “14 year olds” tweeting in a basement.
Of course, many people oppose CISPA – several thousand of whom
tweeted at Rogers after his remark.
Internet companies like Mozilla, Reddit, NameCheap, Gandi.net,
and other have also come out strong against the bill. And over
70 cybersecurity experts and academics sent a joint letter opposing
CISPA last year, expressing their firm opposition to the
dangers of Roger’s approach to computer security:
“We have devoted our careers to building security technologies,
and to protecting networks, computers, and critical
infrastructure against attacks of many stripes. We take security
very seriously, but we fervently believe that strong
computer and network security does not require Internet users to
sacrifice their privacy and civil liberties.”
Earlier this week, 34 civil liberties groups sent a letter opposing
CISPA in its current form.
And the newest addition to CISPA opposition? The White House,
which issued a veto threat (PDF) yesterday.
Rep. Rogers Makes The Case For Why Representatives Should
Rep. Rogers is adamant that no sensitive personal information or
email content will be collected under the bill and then sent
to the federal government. Under questioning from Rep. Polis,
Rogers said “Again, zeroes and ones, hundreds of millions of
times a second, in patterns. It has nothing to do with content.
First of all, of course it’s zeros and ones. That’s how information
is passed in the digital environment-whether it is content or not.
If Rogers is going to propose fundamentally changing
privacy on the Internet, he ought to know that the
contents of email are transferred with zeros and ones in patterns.
Second, if Rogers really meant this, there is an easy solution.
Exclude the content of communications from the bill. Voila!
Companies would not be able to transfer the content of anyone’s
email under the bill, whether in the form of zeros and ones,
or by carrier pigeon.
Reducing Confidence in the Internet
Rep. Polis spoke candidly during the hearing about some of the
detrimental effects CISPA could have on Internet users’ trust
in online services:
“This directly hurts the confidence of Internet users. Internet
users – if this were to become law – would be much more
hesitant to provide their personal information -even if assured
the company would be completely indemnified if they ‘voluntarily’
gave it to the United States government.”
Rep. Rogers was not convinced, asserting this would not be a
problem. He’s wrong. CISPA gives legal immunity to companies who
share your information under the bill, with no exception for privacy
policies or user agreements that promise to protect your
privacy. Even worse, core privacy laws like the Privacy Act,
Cable Communications Policy Act, the Wiretap Act, the Video
Privacy Protection Act, and the Electronic Communications Privacy
Act will be decimated by CISPA, robbed of their power to
protect you when it comes to this so-called cybersecurity sharing.
One amendment that could have helped to address this concern was
a proposal by Rep. Justin Amash (R-MI) which would have made
clear that a company can still make a legally-enforceable commitment
will not share personally identifiable information with the federal
However, this amendment was not allowed to proceed to the floor
for a vote.
Privacy Amendments Aren’t Allowed to Proceed For A Full House Vote
The hearing ended with the decision on which amendments would be
allowed for consideration during the floor vote. In all, 42
amendments were submitted to CISPA – the majority of which dealt
with privacy and civil liberties problems with the bill.
Only 12 were allowed to go to the floor for a full vote.
Among the amendments that will not move forward are forward-thinking
proposals by Reps. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) and Jan
Schakowsky (D-Ill.), both of whom suggested amendments that would
address some of the core privacy concerns in CISPA. The first
championed by Rep. Schakowsky, would require that the first point
of sharing information with the federal government must be with a
civilian agency, so that U.S. military or defense agencies won’t
directly collect or receive cyber information on American citizens.
Another amendment promoted by Rep Schiff, requires companies
sharing information with the government or other private
entities under the bill make “reasonable efforts” to remove
personally identifiable information of individuals unrelated to
the cyber threat.
At first the chairmen didn’t even allow a vote on whether or not
these amendments could be presented to the full house for a
vote. A vote on the amendments was held by the committee only after
Democrats raised the issue.
Unfortunately, both amendments were ruled out of order – along with
many others that would have addressed civil liberties issues.
This means that fixing the bill through floor amendments
-which was always unlikely-is now clearly impossible. EFF
is urging Representatives to oppose the bill in the upcoming vote.
Say No To CISPA
CISPA will likely be up for a vote in the next 24 hours. CISPA is
still riddled with problems and must be stopped. Tell your
Congressmen now to say no to CISPA.
Call Now: Tell Congress to Reject CISPA
The House is about to vote on the “cybersecurity” bill known as
CISPA, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act.
Despite recent amendments, CISPA still features dangerously vague
language that could put your personal information in the
hands of military organizations like the National Security Agency.
While CISPA passed through the House last year, it failed to be
enacted after a veto threat. This year’s bill fails to solve
the fundamental privacy and civil liberties problems with the
misguided law. Please speak out! We’re asking individuals to
call Representatives and follow up with a tweet.
Click here if you’re not in the United States -
Hello, my name is [YOUR NAME] and I am a constituent of
Please oppose H.R.624, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection
Act, also known as CISPA. It is a misguided bill that
violates my privacy. I believe that the right cybersecurity solution
does not involve sacrificing the privacy rights of
Thank you for your consideration, and for acting against this
Phone lines closed?
If you call and the phone lines are already closed or overwhelmed,
please send an email.
Spread the word!
Excellent! Now that you’ve made the call, use our Twitter tool
(https://cyberspying.eff.org/) to tell key members of Congress
to stand up for your privacy and vote NO on CISPA and to help spread
Thank you for taking action regarding the above matter.
Posted on April 21st, 2013 by Semper Fi
Filed under: Legislation | No Comments »