Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Opposition grows to CISPA 'Big Brother' cybersecurity bill

Last-minute opposition to the CISPA, which has been criticized as a "Big Brother" cybersecurity bill, is growing as the U.S. House of Representatives prepares for a vote this week.

Rep. Ron Paul, the Texas Republican and presidential candidate, warned in a statement and YouTube video today that CISPA (PDF) represents the "latest assault on Internet freedom." Paul warned that "CISPA is Big Brother writ large," and said that he hopes that "the public responds to CISPA as it did to SOPA back in January."

In addition, 18 Democratic House members signed a letter (PDF) this afternoon warning that CISPA "does not include necessary safeguards" and that critics have raised "real and serious privacy concerns." The number of people signing an anti-CISPA petition is now at more than 718,000, up about 100,000 from a week ago.

CISPA would permit, but not require, Internet companies to hand over confidential customer records and communications to the U.S. National Security Agency and other intelligence and law enforcement agencies.

It's hardly clear, however, that this wave of opposition will be sufficient.

CISPA -- also known as the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act -- has 113 congressional sponsors. Instead of dropping off as criticism mounted, which is what happened with the SOPA protests in January, more continue to sign up, with six new sponsors adding themselves in the last week.