Originally published: April 29, 2012
Last updated: April 29, 2012 - 6:17pm
[Commentary] Just a few months ago, internet companies and the technology community came together to protest two anti-piracy bills (SOPA and PIPA) because they would have breached free-speech protections and other social safeguards in the name of stopping copyright infringement. Now, a new bill called CISPA that just passed in the House of Representatives is getting a lot of negative attention, with some saying it is just as evil as SOPA, and others — including Facebook and Microsoft — supporting the legislation and arguing that it is much more nuanced than either of its predecessors. So which is it?
A group of over 50 university professors, entrepreneurs and information scientists have published an open letter to Congress calling on lawmakers to oppose CISPA because they say the bill (and its Senate counterpart) would allow companies to hand over the private date of their users to entities like the Department of Homeland Security, and the only requirement is that the information involved must somehow be associated with the vague concept of “cyber-security.” So is CISPA as bad as SOPA? Probably not, in the sense that SOPA required ISPs and other companies to engage in all kinds of activity that infringed on free speech and subjected even innocent users to potential seizure of their websites, etc. But the risk when designing a bill that hinges on a concept as vague as “cyber-security” is that it allows companies and government agencies fairly wide latitude to accumulate whatever information they wish — and allows them to do so without even a warrant or a judge’s order. Companies like Facebook may promise that they would never do this unless it is really important, but how can we know that for sure?
- Corporate SOPA opponents approve of CISPA
- Privacy activists launch online campaign against House cybersecurity bill
- Anonymous targets lawmakers for defeat
- Is CISPA the New SOPA?
- New bipartisan House cybersecurity bill haunted by ghost of SOPA’s failure
- CISPA critics bolstered by Obama veto threat
- Not Another SOPA
- SOPA and PIPA dead, for now
- Conservative group urges lawmakers to oppose anti-piracy bills
- MPAA's former tech officer now argues against SOPA, PIPA
- The Internet Is Not Freaking Out About the SOPA Sequel
- Google follows SOPA down the slippery slope of corporate censorship
- CEA Chief Calls for SOPA Movement to Block Anti-Net Proposals
- MegaUpload case proves we don’t need SOPA or PIPA
- Anti-Piracy Bill Could Hurt Online Advertising