CISPA is the new SOPA. Today marks the opening of a week of action in opposition to the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, which would obliterate any semblance of online privacy in the United States. It's up for a vote later this month.
CISPA demolishes existing barriers between the government and the private sector -- and between government agencies, including the military -- that restrict casual data sharing. It would effectively allow information about Americans' use of the Internet to slosh back and forth uninhibited.
The Center for Democracy and Technology says, "CISPA has a very broad, almost unlimited definition of the information that can be shared with government agencies and it supersedes all other privacy laws."
Corporations like Facebook could share information about their users with other corporations and the government, so long as it's justified by a concern fitting the overly broad conception of cybersecurity threats: alleged piracy or the "degradation' of a company's network, for instance. That data could then be used towards nearly any end, from surveillance to hocking products to Internet users.
And according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, CISPA would accomplish much of the job that Hollywood and other content owners couldn't get done off via SOPA earlier this year:
An ISP could even interpret this bill as allowing them to block accounts believed to be infringing, block access to websites like The Pirate Bay believed to carry infringing content, or take other measures provided they claimed it was motivated by cybersecurity concerns.
You can join nearly 90,000 other Internet users by using Demand Progress's action page to urge your lawmakers to oppose CISPA.
Does Facebook really care about Internet users' rights?
CISPA represents the first notable rift within the coalition of organizations and businesses that helped lead the charge against Stop Online Piracy Act. SOPA's opponents came together in a kumbaya moment, with almost anybody who cares about the Internet -- as user, activist, or profiteer -- lining up against the bill.
Facebook struck an aggressive posture in opposition to SOPA, and at the time Mark Zuckerberg asserted:
The internet is the most powerful tool we have for creating a more open and connected world. We can't let poorly thought out laws get in the way of the internet's development. Facebook opposes SOPA and PIPA, and we will continue to oppose any laws that will hurt the internet.
He was right, but it wasn't hard for Facebook to oppose SOPA: Its passage would have hurt Facebook's bottom line -- and probably forced it to alter basic business practices -- by forcing it to aggressively to police alleged piracy.
And now the profit motive is causing Facebook to support CISPA, at the expense of its users, because it would relieve certain regulatory burdens and provide attractive immunities for the company.
Internet users were able to push GoDaddy to withdraw its support of SOPA. Now it's time to make sure Facebook knows we're furious:
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