Petition Against CISPA Crosses 100,000 Signatures, Reaches White House


One more petition against CISPA has reached the White House with over 100,000 signatures terms saying that the terms of CISPA are too broad, and the possibility of abuse is simply too high. So far, White House has been showing a cool attitude towards CISPA, but looks like this is not going to last for a long time, especially when the petition has already crossed the threshold of 100,000 signatures.

Along with this, Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) and over 30 other Internet rights organizations sent a coalition letter to members of Congress demanding they vote NO on the CISPA. Along with EFF, groups including Mozilla, CDT, ACLU, EFF, and the American Library Association called on representatives to oppose CISPA because of privacy and civil liberties concerns.

“We are gravely concerned that this bill will allow companies that hold very sensitive and personal information to liberally share it with the government, which could then use the information without meaningful oversight for purposes unrelated to cybersecurity.

CISPA’s information sharing regime allows the transfer of vast amounts of data, including sensitive information like internet records 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 undefined ‘national security’ purposes unrelated to cybersecurity.”

The first hearing to CISPA is due this week, and will focus on the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS) role in cybersecurity. The second hearing will touch on computer crime laws. The last hearing will focus on the future of the U.S. military given modern information technology.

But EFF and groups will be especially aggressive this year, and will also fight to reform the draconian computer anti-hacking law as a respect to social justice activist Aaron Swartz.

The petition was launched to stop the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act from being passed and put into action, as Internet activists see it as something that suppresses Internet freedom as well as a violation of people’s privacy. CISPA was passed in the House of Representatives on April 26, 2012, but not in the US Senate. President Barack Obama was advised to veto the bill, since it lacked confidentiality and civil liberties safeguards. The bill was reintroduced last February, prompting the launch of the petition against the bill. The House Intelligence Committee is positive that the bill will be passed this time since President Obama’s executive order with regards to cybersecurity was made known.

We have seen the petitions turning up with thousands of signatures previously too, but nothing much could happen. Let’s see if this one can really make a difference.