CISPA Opponent's Petition Reaches White House To Stop Congress

One month after the controversial Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act was reintroduced to the House of Representatives for the current congressional session, the bill’s opponents have spoken again, their pleas reaching the Obama administration Wednesday.

Another of the popular White House petitions reached its 100,000 signature goal on Wednesday afternoon, exactly one month after being started, with two days left to spare.

The administration now has to offer a response to the petition, explaining its official stance and explaining what action it can or will take in acknowledging the thoughts of the signees.

The petition’s description articulate’s the general issues that most of the internet users and advocates have with the provisions of the bill, which would create more legal pathways for interaction between government intelligence agencies and the corporations we trust so much of our digital lives with.

“CISPA is about information sharing. It creates broad legal exemptions that allow the government to share ‘cyber threat intelligence’ with private companies, and companies to share ‘cyber threat information’ with the government, for the purposes of enhancing cybersecurity,” the petition begins. “The problems arise from the definitions of these terms, especially when it comes to companies sharing data with the feds.”

The Electronic Frontier Foundation, the lobbying group which describes its mission as “defending your rights in the digital world,” joined 30 other similar organizations, including Mozilla, the ACLU and the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, in signing a mass letter to Congress that they released on Tuesday.

“CISPA's information sharing regime allows the transfer of vast amounts of data, including sensitive information like internet records or the content of emails, to any agency in the government including military and intelligence agencies like the National Security Agency or the Department of Defense Cyber Command,” the letter says. “Once in government hands, this information can be used for undefined 'national security' purposes unrelated to cybersecurity.”

Though introduced to the house on Feb. 13, by Rep. Mike Rogers (R-Mich.), it was referred the same day to the House Permanent Select Intelligence Committee, where the further fate of the bill may be decided, if it goes anywhere, which looks difficult in the face of such overwhelming opposition.

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