Reddit, Craigslist join 'week of action' against CISPA

Participants intend to get a grassroots swell of support going against the act, which they see as eviscerating online privacy protections. “Viewing CISPA as one of the greatest threats to internet users since SOPA, the coalition intends to leverage popular outrage to oppose the dangerously broad cybersecurity bill,” reads the online call to action from one of the leaders of the initiative, the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Protesters are encouraged to enter their website information on the Internet Defense League site – the IDL is another digital rights organization that is essentially hosting the movement, which counts Mozilla, WordPress,, Imgur and Tech Dirt as members, among others. Registered websites will then be given embeddable code that will allow them to display an action alert, either automatically or by choice. Social discussion site Reddit and Craigslist have both posted the “action tool” on their front pages.

The movement is also encouraging people to “post about CISPA and its numerous issues on your website or over social media,” and to “write about the dangers behind this broad cybersecurity bill. A blog post, a Facebook update, or even a tweet (using the hashtag #CISPAalert) linking to our action alert could go a long way in helping stop CISPA.” People are also encouraged to write their Congressional representatives.

CISPA, the EEF argues, offers overly broad legal immunity to companies who share users' private information, including the content of communications, with the government. The organization also argues that CISPA as written would provide for the disclosure of users' data directly to the National Security Agency, “a military agency that operates secretly and without public accountability,” and that broad definitions allow users' sensitive personal information to be used for a range of purposes, “including for ‘national security,’ not just computer and network security.”

In all, “the coalition believes that legislation intended to enhance our computer and network security must not sacrifice long-standing civil liberties and protections,” the EEF said.

After President Obama signed an executive order last month to protect government and businesses from what he called "the rapidly growing threat from cyberattacks,” CISPA was recently reintroduced in the House of Representatives by Reps. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.) and Dutch Ruppersberger (D-Md.).

CISPA calls for more information sharing between the private and public sectors, and offers legal protections for companies delivering personal information about customers to defense entities for the purpose of preventing or mitigating attacks on critical infrastructure. The details as to the extent of that personal information and the exact role of the government entities involved, like the Department of Homeland Security, have been called into question.

The IDL and the EFF are joining groups like the ACLU and Fight for the Future in combating the legislation, while other major tech/telecoms companies, including AT&T, have thrown their support behind it.

On the consumer front, more than 300,000 internet activists have since signed a petition against the bill. In early March a separate White House petition against CISPA garnered the 100,000 signatures necessary to provoke an official response from the White House.

The US House of representatives is expected to vote on CISPA in April.

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