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Opposition to CISPA is Growing!

Michelle Richardson,
Legislative Counsel, ACLU Washington Legislative Office
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April 24, 2012

It’s day two of “cyber week” in the House, and there is good news to report: opposition to the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act is growing.

First, conservatives made a big splash over the last several days by vocalizing their strong opposition to how CISPA violates privacy and conservative values. A letter sent to lead sponsors of the bill from the American Conservative Union, Competitive Enterprise Institute, the Liberty Coalition and more, lay out all the many ways CISPA is bad for privacy from its failure to protect sensitive information to its lack of strict government oversight. Also, Congressman and presidential candidate Ron Paul (R-Texas) wrote an op-ed for The Hill calling CISPA “Big Brother writ large” which he hopes will go the way of the Stop Online Piracy Act, and issued a statement and YouTube video that says CISPA represents the “latest assault on Internet freedom.” And last, but certainly not least, libertarian Campaign for Liberty mobilized its members to contact Congress and urge a ‘no’ vote.

Second, 18 members of the House wrote a letter to CISPA’s lead sponsors stating their disapproval of CISPA and its lack of privacy protections. They mention that another iteration of CISPA could surface before the full House of Representatives vote on Thursday or Friday and they demand that it address outstanding problems. Signers include influential members with privacy, tech or national security cred like Reps. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.), Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), Zoe Lofgren (D —Calif.), Gerald Nadler (D-N.Y.), Scott and Jared Polis (D-Colo.) (see if you can decipher their signatures here.)

Third, the Obama administration has weighed in again with its concerns on CISPA. On a call with the press yesterday afternoon, senior administration officials reiterated their opposition to CISPA. One speaker stated that “companies that run the Internet would no longer be accountable to the laws that protect privacy” and could “disclose very broadly, private sensitive information to the government,” Read more about it here.

What’s next? Members who want to propose amendments to CISPA must file them by 4:30 today and they will be available on the Rules Committee website soon thereafter. The Rules Committee — which will decide what amendments will get a vote, if any — will meet at 3:00 on Wednesday to make its ruling.

We’ll be keeping a close eye on how these amendments progress. As of now, it looks like the final vote on CISPA will be Friday. Check back here for the latest as cybersecurity week continues, and if you haven’t already check out our resources and ask Congress to oppose CISPA and any other cyber spying legislation!

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