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CISPA is Back; All Your Data Are Belong to Us

February 14, 2013 - by Donny Shaw

Barely a year after the defeat of SOPA, Congress is back to testing the waters for legislation that many internet users believe to be in violation of their fundamental rights to privacy and free expression. CISPA, a bill that would make it easier for corporations and the government to share internet users' personal data, was officially re-introduced  in the House on Wednesday. It’s already being rushed forward in the legislative process. The House Intelligence Committee is holding a full hearing on the bill today at 10 am. They will hear from four witnesses -- all from the business sector and all supporters of CISPA. No experts with concerns about privacy issues were invited to address the committee.

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With cybersecurity legislation stalled in Congress, the Obama Administration is moving forward with an executive order to bypass Congress and give force of law to some of the stalled bill’s provisions. According to Jason Miller at Federal News Radio, one of the few reporters who has seen a copy of the executive order, the Administration’s proposal closely mirrors the Lieberman-Collins “Cybersecurity Act of 2012, including sections designed to encourage information sharing between web companies and the government, closely related to the provisions of the House-passed CISPA bill.

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While the latest version of the Cybersecurity Act of 2012 is better on privacy than CISPA, its House counterpart, it still gives corporations and the federal government broad new powers to monitor internet users, block access to websites and services, and share personal user information without due process. Unless these provisions are removed, the Participatory Politics Foundation (makers of OpenCongress) stand with EFF, Fight for the Future, Free Press and other tech-rights groups in opposing the bill.

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The Senate voted 84-11 on Thursday to begin debate of the latest version of the Lieberman-Collins cybersecurity legislation. The version of the bill they’ll be debating, S.3414, addresses many of the privacy concerns in the original, but it still poses some problems for civil liberties. Here are a few things to watch as the debate progresses.

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"Early June" is over and the Senate never did vote on cybersecurity legislation as they were expected to. But that doesn't mean their bill, and the internet privacy obliterating provisions in it, are dead. According to new reports, the supporters of the leading cybersecurity bill in the Senate are putting on a full-court press to hold a vote as soon as possible.

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Stopping Congress from screwing up the Internet, again.

Earlier this year, people from all over the Internet rallied to stop SOPA and PIPA, the Internet censorship bills. That was great, but now members of Congress (and the telecom and media companies) are once again trying to destroy the Internet. With SOPA, they tried to give the government wide-ranging authority to shut down huge portions of the Internet. This time they're going to destroy the your privacy. But not if we can help it.

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CISPA Rushed to Passage

April 27, 2012 - by Donny Shaw

In a snap vote last night, the House of Representatives passed the controversial Cyberintelligence Sharing and Protection Act, more commonly known as CISPA. The final roll call was 248-168, with most of the Republicans voting in favor and most of the Democrats voting against.

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Senators Say DOJ is Lying About the PATRIOT Act

September 22, 2011 - by Donny Shaw

It's always nice to see members of Congress challenging secrecy, lies, and privacy violations from the executive branch. As Charlie Savage reports at the New York Times, Democratic Senators Ron Wyden [OR] and Mark Udall [CO] wrote to Attorney General Eric Holder yesterday accusing him of using secret legal opinions to miselad the public on how the PATRIOT Act is really being used.

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Protecting the PATRIOT Act

February 10, 2011 - by Donny Shaw

The House Rules Committee met for about 10 minutes yesterday afternoon to decide how to handle the PATRIOT Act extension bill that was defeated earlier this week when the Republicans tried to bring it to the floor under an expedited process with only 40 minutes of debate and no amendments. Their decision, which does not come as too much of a surprise, is to bring the bill back to the floor under a closed rule that will still not allow any amendments and will still keep the debate very brief. The rule, however, will allow for the bill to pass by a simple majority, so unless dozens more members turn against the extension at the last minute, it will pass easily.

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