CISPA Is the New SOPA, Will It Get the Same Response?

Written by John Ponio    Thursday, 05 April 2012 14:41

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CISPA, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act that is gaining in popularity in the United States House of Representatives, is being called the new SOPA, and many are wondering how the online community will respond once word gets out. What this bill basically does is allow various companies (like ISPs) and government agencies to spy on what you do online, and share it with each other. Under the guise of "cyber security," this is another attempt to thwart privacy.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, a foundation dedicated to "defending your rights in the digital word," wrote about CISPA:

"H.R. 3523, also known as the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act of 2011, would let companies spy on users and share private information with the federal government and other companies with near-total immunity from civil and criminal liability. It effectively creates a 'cybersecurity' exemption to all existing laws.

"There are almost no restrictions on what can be collected and how it can be used, provided a company can claim it was motivated by 'cybersecurity purposes.' That means a company like Google, Facebook, Twitter, or AT&T could intercept your emails and text messages, send copies to one another and to the government, and modify those communications or prevent them from reaching their destination if it fits into their plan to stop cybersecurity threats."

So what can you do? Contact your Representative and get this bill stopped before it gets more popular. But wait! Before you do that, you might want to do some more reading on it to find out what  you are or aren't supporting. A quick Google search for CISPA will yield many results, but here's an article on Torrent Freak about it, and here's the Electronic Frontier Foundation article I partially quoted earlier that includes a handy link to contact your Representatives. And of course, you can read the bill in its vague entirety here. It isn't that long, don't worry. While I am worried about the potential this bill has to erode our freedoms, the thing that interests me most is how many and what kind of protests there will be. Will be see an all-out protest across the entire internet again? One can only hope (read: One can only get the word out to as many people as possible and make the protests happen).