Don’t Let Congress Use “Cybersecurity” Fears to Erode Digital Rights

Sourced at: Electronic Frontier Foundation

Congress is considering legislation that would give companies a free pass to monitor and collect communications, including huge amounts of personal data like your text messages and emails, and share that data with the government and anyone else. All a company has to do is claim its privacy violations were for “cybersecurity purposes.” Tell Congress that they can’t use vaguely-defined “cybersecurity threats” as a shortcut to bypassing the law.

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.

Congress wants to use the threat of “cybersecurity” to undermine our digital rights. Tell your lawmakers that we won’t stand for dangerous, unsupervised information sharing in this bill or any bill like it.

Advertisements

No comments yet... Be the first to leave a reply!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: