In case you missed the news and subsequent online uproar, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the controversial CISPA bill yesterday, sending it on its way to the Senate and White House, where President Obama has threatened a veto.
Now the internet has sounded its battle cry.
The stated purpose of CISPA, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection act, is to strengthen security, but the bill's broad language would allow it to seriously undermine privacy on the web, by making it legal for businesses and websites to share users' personal information with the federal government or other companies—without permission—and in some cases even if it means violating a signed privacy contract.
"Cybersecurity is a real problem, but Congress' latest CISPA bill tries to solve it by attacking the freedom of the internet," the Guardian wrote in a passionate editorial yesterday. "If you are eligible to vote in the United States, please take a break from whatever you're doing today and call your member of the U.S. House of Representatives."
The good news is, folks aren't taking this lying down. Privacy advocates, internet activists, and those of us that understand the far-reaching implications of the bill are rallying for a fight.
Here's what's been going on, and how you can get involved.
A video of Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian posted yesterday shows him (literally) calling on Google and Twitter to speak up against the bill. He encourages the rest of us to do the same. You can sign the petition here.
So why target Google? As The Huffington Post reports, "The corporate coalition that teamed up with web activists to take down the Stop Online Piracy Act in January 2012 was notably fractured during the congressional debate over CISPA." Google has not yet taken a public stance on the bill.
Today, the hacktivist group Anonymous is urging websites to go dark on April 22, hoping for a widespread internet blackout akin to the one that helped squash SOPA and PIPA last year. You can join that conversation and urge your favorite sites to go dark via #CISPABlackout.
And last but not least, you can take good old-fashioned step of speaking out. Internet advocacy groups Fight for the Future and Center for Rights are urging people to write (or better yet, call!) your representative and voice your opposition to the bill. They are also in the process of organizing a large protest against CISPA this spring.
Hey, it worked for SOPA. Let's do it again.
Click here to add protecting your privacy to your "To Do" list