Facebook speaks out on why they support CISPA
As opposition mounts on the newest piece of legislation that Congress is trying to put through which may violate Internet users rights; one of it’s biggest supporters, Facebook, is speaking out on why they support CISPA.
The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) is a new bill in Congress, which at it’s core will allow Internet companies to bypass Internet privacy laws so that they can provide personal and private information at the request of the government. It’s another controversial bill that is akin to ACTA and SOPA. With SOPA, many Internet companies were against it, including Facebook. However with CISPA, Facebook actually supports it, along with several other Internet companies such as AT&T, IBM and Microsoft. Here is the full list of CISPA supporters.
Facebook in a public post stated they support CISPA because it will allow Facebook along with other Internet companies to share cyber security threat information with each other, including the government which is a big concern for them currently. This is understandable, however, Facebook realizes and adds to the post that they are aware there are privacy concerns with CISPA since Internet companies could share private information outside of privacy laws with no recourse for users. Facebook says they would not “voluntarily” participate in this, but what about others.
A number of bills being considered by Congress, including the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (HR 3523), would make it easier for Facebook and other companies to receive critical threat data from the U.S. government. Importantly, HR 3523 would impose no new obligations on us to share data with anyone –- and ensures that if we do share data about specific cyber threats, we are able to continue to safeguard our users’ private information, just as we do today.
That said, we recognize that a number of privacy and civil liberties groups have raised concerns about the bill – in particular about provisions that enable private companies to voluntarily share cyber threat data with the government. The concern is that companies will share sensitive personal information with the government in the name of protecting cybersecurity. Facebook has no intention of doing this and it is unrelated to the things we liked about HR 3523 in the first place — the additional information it would provide us about specific cyber threats to our systems and users.
Are we to believe Facebook, because they say so? In addition, passing such a law would open up every single Internet company to this loophole, so whether Facebook decides to voluntarily provide private information to the government that belongs to users is a moot point if other companies do participate.
If you are opposed to laws like SOPA, ACTA or CISPA, you can do something about it by using this online tool from the EFF or this online tool from Demand Progress.