Internet giants push back against CISPA

The revamped cybersecurity bill still means bad news for user privacy, say Reddit, Craigslist and others

By Natasha Lennard

Published March 20, 2013 8:06PM (EDT)


This week online leviathans including Reddit and Craigslist joined efforts bottom-lined by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and activist group Internet Defense League to fight CISPA.  CISPA (the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act), which allows the National Security Agency and the military to collect your private Internet records, was amended from its original version but has still set off alarms for privacy advocates.

While the White House has urged Congress to pass a cybersecurity bill, CISPA would give businesses and the federal government legal protection to share data on cyberthreats with each other and has garnered criticism for being overly broad and failing to protect user privacy. HuffPo's Gerry Smith reported on the online actions taken up by thousands of sites this week to fight the bill:

The websites opposing the bill broadcast an "action tool" on their sites Tuesday that allows users to send an automated message to their representatives in Congress. “CISPA is Back. This bill sacrifices privacy without improving security. We deserve both," the message says. Craigslist featured a link on its site that said: "Pro Privacy? Oppose CISPA."

The effort is being promoted by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and the Internet Defense League, an organization of Internet activists who led an online outcry last year that led to the defeat of anti-piracy legislation known as SOPA. The organizers said more than 30,000 websites participated Tuesday in the online protest.

The action marked the latest push by activists to rally public opposition to the bill, which was re-introduced in February by Reps. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) and Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.) after it failed to pass Congress last year.

Last month, activists submitted 300,000 online signatures via email to the House Intelligence Committee, which is debating the legislation. This month, a petition urging the Obama Administration to prevent the bill from becoming law reached 100,000 signatures -- the necessary threshold to elicit a response from the White House.

Natasha Lennard

Natasha Lennard is an assistant news editor at Salon, covering non-electoral politics, general news and rabble-rousing. Follow her on Twitter @natashalennard, email

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Cispa Craigslist Cybersecurity Internet Privacy Reddit