Target: United States Congress
Goal: Prevent the passing of a bill which would allow the government to sift through Internet users’ personal accounts and browsing history.
Recently, Congressmen Mike Rogers and Dutch Ruppersberger have reintroduced CISPA, short for “Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act,” to the House. Why is this a big deal? The answer is that CISPA is neither targeted nor specific and may ultimately lead to infringements on American citizens’ privacy. Call upon the United States Congress to prevent the passing of this bill.
With its incredibly broad language and reach, the bill opens the door for the government to potentially peer into each individual’s private information, from search engine history to the contents of emails. In its 2012 appearance, CISPA notoriously bypassed any existing privacy laws and provided companies with immunity from lawsuits if those companies share their clients’ private information with the government.
Furthermore, CISPA is not regulated by the Freedom of Information Act, an act designed to keep the actions of the government transparent and accountable to the American people. Taken all together, CISPA’s provisions result in it creating tremendous potential for the government to invade the privacy of its citizens, and the 2013 version of the bill hasn’t done anything to alleviate any past concerns about its language and intentions.
Sign the petition below to say no to Big Brother. The citizens of the United States are entitled to their rights to privacy and freedom from cyberbullying and cyberstalking, even if that cyberstalking comes from the government itself.
Dear United States Congress,
While we as citizens respect that the Internet should be subject to the same laws as the rest of land (and websites which foster illegal activities deserve investigation), we also believe in the rights of individual, law-abiding citizens to privacy. The Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution guarantees no illegal searches and seizures. This amendment has always been understood to mean that police cannot physically search people’s homes without probable cause and a warrant. Furthermore, certain spaces (such as restrooms) have a tacit agreement of privacy between the user and the public.
We understand the the Internet is something of a new frontier which the Constitution did not anticipate, but we believe that, for citizens who are not suspected of having committed a crime (probable cause), a person’s browsing history, private emails, and other personal aspects of online history should be understood to be private spaces, belonging only to the individual user. These spaces deserve protection and respect. If the government is allowed free rein to look into citizens’ private activities without probable cause, then surely this is tantamount to Orwellian surveillance and spying.
Please, vote against CISPA. There are more constitutional methods for preventing illegal activities on the Internet.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: “Category:E-mail” in Wikimedia Commons