EFF in the News
EFF Activism Director Rainey Reitman on CISPA.
We can argue for ages though about whose rules apply, whether it’s illegal or not to eavesdrop, on someone’s unprotected Wi-Fi. Here’s the simple real-world truth, says Seth David Schoen, the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s (EFF) Senior Staff Technologist, “it’s easy to intercept data from open Wi-Fi networks and users should be using encryption whenever they use the Internet. Not everyone with a van is going to get caught.”
Julie Samuels, a staff attorney with the Electronic Frontier Foundation who specializes in intellectual property issues, praised Twitter for taking the initiative.
"We've been waiting for the courts or Congress to step in to fix a system that is largely broken, and we have not seen that happen," Samuels said. "It's good to see a company like Twitter take matters into their own hands."
According to the EFF, that provision would subvert privacy protections offered by existing wiretapping laws and electronic privacy communications laws, allowing companies to "bypass all existing laws, as long as they claim a vague 'cybersecurity' purpose," without threat of reprisal.
The EFF has started a hashtag campaign to raise CISPA awareness called #CongressTMI. The point is to send your members of Congress Tweets telling them about your boring online lives that would be made available to them under CISPA.
EFF staff technologist Dan Auerbach added he "fears some proactive efforts -- such as shutting down a computer network that crooks have infiltrated -- might harm others who legitimately use the same network."
"CISPA would allow ISPs, social networking sites and anyone else handling Internet communications to monitor users and pass information to the government without any judicial oversight," EFF Activism Director Rainey Reitman said in a statement. "The language of this bill is dangerously vague, so that personal online activity -- from the mundane to the intimate -- could be implicated."
The readiness of the internet community to self organize for mass protests against censorship and online privacy curtailment has taken US legislators aback, believes Trevor Timm, web freedom activist from the Electronic Frontier foundation
Civil liberties groups, on the other hand, remain steadfastly opposed to legal authorization for such broad information-sharing. The American Library Association, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the libertarian-leaning TechFreedom, and other groups launched a "Stop Cyber Spying" campaign yesterday -- complete with a write-your-congresscritter-via-Twitter app -- and over 670,000 people have signed an anti-CISPA Web petition.
Julie Samuels, a staff lawyer with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said in a statement that the patent system was sometimes used to cause harm to inventors and companies, but this new agreement could curb that. ”Twitter’s I.P.A. gives those companies and inventors a powerful tool to take a system that’s broken and make it work for them, which in turn will benefit us all,” Ms. Samuels said.