Civil Libertarians Launch Campaign Against CISPA


Congress is rolling out the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) and related legislation in a set of votes next week under the banner of "Cybersecurity Week."  

"Stop Cyber Spying Week" is the ACLU and other rights organizations' response to the legislation, which would allow online companies to share information collected about you to the government. 

The companies that'd be sending the information to the government, predictably, aren't opposing CISPA with the same vigor as they did SOPA. Nevertheless, the ACLU and others hope to be able to replicate the online activism that led to SOPA's demise.

CISPA's supporters assert the program is for "voluntary" information sharing between private companies and the government's security apparatus. These companies collect a lot of private information from their consumers, and the government, it would seem, would simply want access to this information for national security purposes.

This "voluntary" information sharing program comes in the wake of a recent rules change at the National Counterterrorism Center that allows the government to hold records collected on you for five years, ten times the previous 180 day limit, whether or not you're the target of an investigation or suspected of anything criminal at all. It could explain why the NSA's latest "surveillance hub" is a $2 billion, 1,000,000 square foot project. 

SOPA was roundly criticized for letting media companies and the government team up to shut down websites accused of copyright infringement without due process. CISPA, on the other hand, merely formalizes the relationship between the government's security apparatus and the private companies we willingly share our private information with. But CISPA erodes the right to due process as well. After all, who needs a warrant when the sharing is voluntary?