April 17, 2012 | By Parker Higgins

EFF Joins Two Coalition Letters Opposing CISPA

Continuing our campaign against the cyberspying bill better known as CISPA, EFF has signed on to two coalition letters urging legislators to drop their support for the Rogers cybersecurity bill (HR 3523). One coalition is focused on the disastrous privacy implications of the bill, while the other identifies major government accountability issues it would introduce.

The coalition behind the privacy letter represents dozens of groups, including the ACLU, the American Library Association, the American Policy Center, the Center for Democracy and Technology, the Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, and many others. In the letter, the groups explain how CISPA as written would be devastating to our privacy rights:

CISPA creates an exception to all privacy laws to permit companies to share our information with each other and with the government in the name of cybersecurity. ... CISPA’s ‘information sharing’ regime allows the transfer of vast amounts of data, including sensitive information like internet use history or the content of emails, to any agency in the government including military and intelligence agencies like the National Security Agency or the Department of Defense Cyber Command. Once in government hands, this information can be used for any non-regulatory purpose so long as one significant purpose is for cybersecurity or to protect national security.

The second letter — sent by a coalition including OpenTheGovernment.org, Mucrock, James Madison Project, the Sunlight Foundation, and many more — took aim at the ways in which CISPA would decrease government accountability.

[T]he bill unwisely and unnecessarily cuts off all public access to cyber threat information before the public and Congress have the chance to understand the types of information that are withheld under the bill. ... Other information that may be shared could be critical for the public to ensure its safety. The public needs access to some information to be able to assess whether the government is adequately combating cybersecurity threats and, when necessary, hold officials accountable.

These letters should prove to be a valuable addition to the cybersecurity discussion taking place in Washington right now. It's not too late for your voice to be a part of that discussion, either: #CongressTMI, our social media campaign to contact your Congressional representatives is running now, and we've also made an action alert for you to e-mail Congress about your opposition. Take action today against this privacy-invasive attack on public access to governmental information.


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