Learn about CISPA, the internet censorship and privacy violating bill that’s moving through Congress.
Apparently the government and big corporations are intent on robbing internet users of their basic civil liberties. We, the people, spoke up and eradicated SOPA. But now, big business is back at it with a new bill called CISPA.
From the Electronic Frontier Foundation:
H.R. 3523, also known as the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act of 2011, would let companies spy on users and share private information with the federal government and other companies with near-total immunity from civil and criminal liability. It effectively creates a “cybersecurity” exemption to all existing laws.
There are almost no restrictions on what can be collected and how it can be used, provided a company can claim it was motivated by “cybersecurity purposes.” That means a company like Google, Facebook, Twitter, or AT&T could intercept your emails and text messages, send copies to one another and to the government, and modify those communications or prevent them from reaching their destination if it fits into their plan to stop cybersecurity threats.
Worst of all, the stated definition of “cybersecurity” is so broad, it leaves the door open to censor any speech that a company believes would “degrade the network.” The bill specifically mentions that cybersecurity can include protecting against the “theft or misappropriation of private or government information” including “intellectual property.” Such sweeping language would give companies and the government new powers to monitor and censor communications for copyright infringement. It could also be a powerful weapon to use against whistleblower websites like WikiLeaks.
Read the rest: here.
THIS JUST IN VIA FIGHT FOR THE FUTURE:
SOPA’s supporters are pushing two agreements: ACTA and TPP1. ACTA would criminalize users, encourage internet providers to spy on you, and make it easier for media companies to sue sites out of existence and jail their founders. Sound familiar?That’s right, ACTA is from the same playbook as SOPA, but global. Plus it didn’t even have to pass through Congress2.
TPP goes even farther than ACTA, and the process has been even more secretive and corrupt. Last weekend (we wish this was a joke) trade negotiators partied with MPAA (pro-SOPA) lobbyists before secret negotiations in a Hollywood hotel, while public interest groups were barred from meeting in the same building.3
Trade agreements are a gaping loophole, a secretive backdoor track that—even though it creates new laws—is miles removed from democracy. Trade negotiators are unelected and unaccountable, so these agreements have been very hard for internet rights groups to stop.
But now the tide is turning. Fueled by the movement to stop SOPA, anti-ACTA protests are breaking out across the EU, which hasn’t ratified ACTA. The protests are having an impact: leaders in Poland, the Czech Republic, and Slovakia have backtracked on ACTA.4 Now a massive round of street protests in over 200 cities is planned for this Saturday February 11th.
We’re planning an online protest this Saturday to support the protests in the streets. Why? Because together we can drive millions of emails to key decision makers—and start tipping the scales like we did on SOPA.
We just built an ACTA & TPP contact tool, and it’s not just a petition. It’s code for your site that figures out the visitor’s country and lets them email all their Members of European Parliament—the politicians who will be voting on ACTA in June—or the trade negotiators behind TPP. This direct contact between voters and their officials, driven by websites of all sizes, was instrumental in the fight against SOPA.
We can use the same tactics to defeat ACTA & TPP, but we need your help!
This is going to be tough fight. But we need to make secretive trade agreements harder to pass than US law. If we don’t, our internet’s future belongs to the lobbyists behind SOPA.
This is just the beginning,
—Holmes Wilson, Tiffiniy Cheng, Joshua Blount & the whole Fight for the Future team.
P.S. This map of ACTA street protests in Europe is amazing. The largest has almost 50,000 RSVP’s!
2. Obama’s signing of ACTA may have been unconstitutional. See Anti-counterfeiting agreement raises constitutional concerns and Techdirt.
Sounds ridiculous to us, but the University of Minnesota is trying to do just that in a case that will go before the Minnesota Supreme Court tomorrow. The case could set a dangerous precedent for students’ speech rights.
Follow the link above to read more from SPLC Executive Director (and former FAD guest!) Frank LoMonte.
Google Quietly Releases Country-by-Country Take Downs For Blogger
Most of the blogosphere’s attention has been focused on Twitter’s new censorship policies released last week, but Google has quietly unveiled its new policies for its blogging interface, Blogger. The changes reflect a compromise similar to Twitter’s, allowing them to target their response to content removal requests by certain states. Over the coming weeks, Google will redirect users to a country-code top-level domain, or “ccTLD”, which corresponds to the user’s current location based upon their IP address. Google also provides users a way to get around these blocks by entering a formatted No Country Redirect or “NCR” URL.
These moves come after pressure from countries like India that are cracking down on social media sites for content deemed “inappropriate”. On Blogger’s FAQ they explain why it has come to this:
Migrating to localized domains will allow us to continue promoting free expression and responsible publishing while providing greater flexibility in complying with valid removal requests pursuant to local law. By utilizing ccTLDs, content removals can be managed on a per country basis, which will limit their impact to the smallest number of readers. Content removed due to a specific country’s law will only be removed from the relevant ccTLD.
As these companies enter new countries, they become subject to local laws. Given that they say they already respond to valid and applicable court orders that could effect global access to certain content, it is in some ways an improvement to limit censorship to the region in which it applies. Google’s policy changes are similar to Twitter’s, which we reacted to last week:
For now, the overall effect is less censorship rather than more censorship, since they used to take things down for all users. But people have voiced concerns that “if you build it, they will come,”—if you build a tool for state-by-state censorship, states will start to use it. We should remain vigilant against this outcome.
The lasting consequences of this new policy cannot be foreseen, in the meantime we will be keeping a close eye on Chilling Effects to track government requests to censor content on Blogger.
EFF explains why Twitter’s new system and policy will lead to LESS censorship, not more. There’s also an interesting transparency factor, which allows activists to track what Twitter is censoring (Google and Wikipedia also participate in censorship transparency). Check it out.
There’s a link in the article that directs you to the petition. Let’s make this happen!
Free speech is all or nothing.