EFF in the News
CDT, along with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the American Civil Liberties Union, Free Press and other groups, is leading a week of protests against the cybersecurity bill.
Organisations such as the Electronic Frontier Foundation, the American Civil Liberties Union, the Sunlight Foundation and Avaaz.org have all voiced their concerns about the extent to which the government would be able to monitor private information.
The rules, proposed by the open source software project Mozilla, privacy advocate Electronic Frontier Foundation, and Jonathan Mayer, a researcher at Stanford University, surfaced at a meeting organized by the World Wide Web Consortium, a standard setting group.
Napolitano's comments also troubled Dan Auerbach, staff technologist with the Electronic Frontier Foundation, a nonprofit group that lobbies to protect the privacy and civil liberties of people using the Internet.
"We all support having an environment where these cyber threats can't happen," he said. But 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.
"When I hear proactive effort, it makes me cringe a little bit because it makes me wonder what the mechanism is going to be," Auerbach said.
“What this shows, and what the FCC has recognized, is that Congress needs to update the [wiretapping] law and make sure it’s current in light of technology that we use today,” said Marcia Hofmann, a senior staff attorney at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
"We are deeply concerned about the information-sharing component of this bill," said Rainey Reitman activism director at the EFF. "Companies would be allowed to ship any kind of personal information to the government without any judicial oversight."
The Electronic Frontier Foundation said in a statement on its website that the language used in the act was too vague.
"The broad language around what constitutes a cyber-security threat leaves the door wide open for abuse," stated the organisation.
Julie Samuels, an attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an Internet civil liberties group, argued that the government should establish a system through which those users could file affidavits and claim their data.
In Google’s corner are several heavyweights. Yahoo, eBay, consumer advocacy group Public Citizen and digital rights advocacy groups Electronic Frontier Foundation and Public Knowledge have filed briefs in support of the Internet company, saying most people don’t confuse paid advertisements with search results, and that keyword advertising encourages competition and the free flow of information to users.
Several congressional bills would further information sharing between the public and private sectors, in part by clarifying procedures for how the information is exchanged. But an analysis by the nonprofit public Electronic Frontier Foundation said the bills could endanger civil liberties by allowing "a whole host of monitoring activities" by government and nongovernment officials.