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CISPA: Anonymous prepares for battle to keep Internet free

Anonymous prepares for battle to prevent CISPA, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, from eroding digital rights and censoring the Internet.

Anonymous v. CISPA

Anonymous enthusiasts and others across the Internet are warning of the dangers of CISPA, a controversial new bill that would allow for unchecked Internet censorship and surveillance. Critics agree, H.R. 3523, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA), constitutes a substantial threat to the Internet as we know it.

Within the last 24 hours a petition Anonymous has been promoting at Avaaz.Org has received over 300,000 digital signatures. The petition reads:

Members of the US Congress:

As concerned global citizens, we urge you to immediately drop the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA). Our democracy and civil liberties are under threat from the excessive and unnecessary Internet surveillance powers it grants. The Internet is a crucial tool for people around the world to exchange ideas and work collectively to build the world we all want. We urge you to show true global leadership and do all you can to protect our Internet freedom.

CISPA is being sponsored by Rep. Michael Rogers, a Republican representing Michigan’s 8th district. The controversial bill intends:

“to provide for the sharing of certain cyber threat intelligence and cyber threat information between the intelligence community and cybersecurity entities, and for other purposes.”

CISPA has been quietly moving through Congress. According to a press release issued last week, the bill already has over a 100 congressional co-sponsors. CISPA is currently enjoying wide bi-partisan support, as did SOPA, the Stop Online Piracy Act, and PIPA, the Protect IP Act, which came before.

Electronic Frontier Foundation, an online advocacy group, reports:

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.

There is no doubt the international Internet hacktivist collective known as Anonymous will resist this draconian measure with every means available. And like SOPA and PIPA which came before, Anonymous seems bound and determined to prevent the government from enacting legislation that would infringe on civil liberties and digital rights. The battle has only just begun.

If CISPA concerns you, follow this link to Avaaz.Org and sign the petition. In addition, you can follow this link to the Electronic Frontier Foundation, and sign a digital letter to let your Representatives know how you feel.

For more news, art and information about Anonymous, check out Anonymous Examiner on Facebook.

What do you think about CISPA? Leave a comment - express yourself.


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