Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Senator Ron Wyden Speaks out Against CIPSA

Oregon Democratic Senator Ronald Wyden deserves a hardy round of applause for his steadfast drive to protect the privacy of all Americans from excessive government and private intrusion. When principles are at stake, Senator Wyden has never shied from standing alone, even when it means taking on powerful interest groups or his own party.  His lone stand against the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) and its predecessor, the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeit Act (COICA), put a spotlight on the problematic legislation being fast tracked through Congress and served as a rallying point for the historic Internet protests that ultimately toppled the bills. Now he is standing up against what some have called 'SOPA meets the Patriot Act'.... CIPSA.

 “Bad Internet policy is increasingly premised on false choices…there is no sound policy reason to sacrifice the privacy rights of law abiding American citizens in the name of cyber-security".   With the recent passage of CISPA in the House of Representatives and the Senate moving to consider another cyber-security bill, Senator Wyden took to the Senate floor to affirm his commitment to opposing any bill that asks Americans to make the false choice between secure networks and personal privacy.

What is CISPA?
CISPA has been criticized by advocates of internet privacy and civil liberties, such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the American Civil Liberties Union, and Those groups argue CISPA contains too few limits on how and when the government may monitor private individual’s internet browsing information. Additionally, they fear that such new powers could be used to spy on the general public rather than to pursue malicious crackers.  CISPA has garnered favor from corporations and lobbying groups such as MicrosoftFacebook and the United States Chamber of Commerce, which look on it as a simple and effective means of sharing important cyber threat information with the government.

What do some of the other critics say about it?

Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of the World Wide Web, expressed opposition to the bill stating, “[It] is threatening the rights of people in America, and effectively rights everywhere, because what happens in America tends to affect people all over the world. Even though the SOPA and PIPA acts were stopped by huge public outcry, its staggering how quickly the US government has come back with a new, different, threat to the rights of its citizens.”

U.S. Representative Ron Paul (R-TX) has publicly opposed the bill calling it "Big Brother writ large."

The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has also issued a statement opposing the bill stating, "The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act would create a cyber security exception to all privacy laws and allow companies to share the private and personal data they hold on their American customers with the government for cyber security purposes." As the statement continues, "Beyond the potential for massive data collection authorization, the bill would provide no meaningful oversight of, or accountability for, the use of these new information-sharing authorities."

Mozilla, the makers of the Firefox Web-Browser, opposes CISPA stating, "While we wholeheartedly support a more secure Internet, CISPA has a broad and alarming reach that goes far beyond Internet security."

Take Action!

The ACLU is mounting a campaign against CISPA, help them here. There is a White House petition against CISPA here. has an anti-CISPA petition here. has an anti-CISPA petition here  that over 796,000 have already signed. List of Senate contact numbers: Click here.


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