From OpenCongress WikiFighting Internet censorship again, because Congress keeps trying.
Earlier this year, people from all over the Internet rallied to stop SOPA and PIPA, the Internet censorship bills. That was great, but now Congress and telecom companies are once again seeking to allow the government unfettered access to private Internet communications under the guise of "security." CISPA seeks to change how "cyber threat intelligence" information is shared between private entities and the federal government. All existing laws protecting the privacy of individuals would be voided in order to encourage private entities to share more user information with the government without a warrant. The government would be able to use the shared information for many law enforcement purposes other than preventing cyber attacks.
Basically, it's the PATRIOT Act all over again. Remember how one member of Congress admitted that they hadn't read the PATRIOT Act before it was passed in a panic after 9/11. Well, now Congress is raising a panic about cyber attacks and has a bill radically changing computer communications sponsored by a guy who admitted he doesn't know how to use a computer.
So now we're reviving one of the tools we used to defeat SOPA: the grassroots "whip count."
Whip counts are the sheets lobbyists use to prowl the halls of Congress counting votes before the vote occurs so there will be no surprises. Normally this is a closely guarded secret. We're doing it in the open.
It's time for the members of the Senate to tell us where they stand on CISPA, so there's no surprises.
Contacting your senator and asking them to vote against a bill is all well and good, but when we post their responses online, it shows the country who stands with the people and who wants the police to be able to just call and ask for your Internet records without a warrant. CISPA is a bill passed by the House, and there are three different version in the Senate, so to play it safe we're asking senators whether they will oppose CISPA provisions in "any cyber security bill."
We built a whip count tool to track the votes. Now we need you to make a call or send an email and tell us what your senators said.
Here's how it works:
- Go to the CISPA Whip Count page, find your two senators and contact them via phone or through OpenCongress' ContactCongress feature.
- When you get a response (or see a newspaper article or video with their position), use the form to post it online.
- Even if you don't get a response, use the call log sheet to let other people from your state know how many people have called that senator.
That's it! Now sit back and watch the responses pile up as we see where they stand.
- Need tips on how to best call or email Congress? We've got you covered.
- Need help using the tool? Send us an email and we'll walk you through it.
- Want more info on CISPA? Check these out:
- The OpenCongress page on CISPA.
- The OpenCongress blog on how the House rushed the bill through (probably without reading it).
- Electronic Frontier Foundation on the organizations fighting CISPA and bogus "cyber security legislation" in general.
- DailyKos' McJoan on the companies supporting the bill, the websites fighting it and the White House's veto threat.
- JDSupra with some of the legal fine points of the legislation.
- Reddit's blog on CISPA (also see this very thorough Reddit post).
Finally, here's an awesome infographic from the good folks at the Electronic Frontier Foundation: