Your Guide to CISPA (and how to fight it)

With all the hubbub over the Boston bombing, it’s easy to miss the fact that anti-internet privacy bill CISPA is expected to pass the House this week. Accordingly, here’s a quick round-up of what you need to know and do about this dangerous bill:

What is CISPA? It’s a bill which, if it becomes law, will let ”US law enforcement and intelligence service raid all of your data, all the time, without letting you know, regardless of your service provider’s privacy policy, in the name of preventing ‘cyberattacks,’ whatever they are.”

What does it mean for you? The privacy agreements you signed (and totally read) when making your many, many online accounts will become meaningless. Rep. Justin Amash’s office commented: “When Americans sign up for service with their phone company or their Internet provider they should be entitled to the privacy protections that the companies promise them. Giving companies legal cover to break their contracts with consumers is bad policy and a disservice to the American people.”

Isn’t President Obama against it? Well, he says he is, but we have to take that with a grain of salt. Remember, he once threatened to veto the NDAA and then went right ahead and signed it on a slow news day. It’s also worth noting that the Obama administration isn’t saying, “No, don’t give us massive amounts of private information about U.S. citizens not suspected of any crime which they thought wouldn’t be shared;” it’s saying, “Filter out their movie preferences first”:

Both government and private companies need cyber threat information….The Administration, however, remains concerned that the bill does not require private entities to take reasonable steps to remove irrelevant personal information when sending cybersecurity data to the government or other private sector entities.

What do CISPA supporters say about its opponents? Mean things. Namely that we’re all ”14-year olds” in our “basements.”  Right, because supporting privacy and internet freedom is childish.

So, what can you do to oppose this bill? The Electronic Frontier Foundation reports that CISPA “may be voted on as early as Wednesday. This means there’s little time left to speak out.” Here’s how to contact your representative to tell him or her to vote NO:

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