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Human rights group Avaaz launches a petition against CISPA

Targeting Facebook, Microsoft and IBM
Wed Apr 18 2012, 14:14

HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST GROUP Avaaz has started a petition urging companies to drop support for the US Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA).

Targeting the major technology firms Facebook, Microsoft and IBM, the petition went live Tuesday and has so far secured 103,004 signatures from internet users as of 13:30 today. The aim is to get to 500,000. Hitting a fifth of that number after only a day online means that reaching the target shouldn't be difficult.

"Our democracy and civil liberties are under threat from the excessive and unnecessary Internet surveillance powers it grants to the US government," the petition statement reads.

"The Internet is a crucial tool for people around the world to exchange ideas and work collectively to build the world we all want. We urge you to show true global leadership and do all you can to protect our Internet freedom."

Hacktivists from Anonymous started their protest against CISPA last week, tweeting, "#CISPA Is The New SOPA: Help Kill It"

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) also warned earlier this month that CISPA will whip any privacy out from under web users' feet.

It said, "[It] means a company like Google, Facebook, Twitter, or AT&T could intercept your emails and text messages, send copies to one another and to the government, and modify those communications or prevent them from reaching their destination if it fits into their plan to stop 'cybersecurity' threats."

"Congress wants to use the threat of 'cybersecurity' to undermine our Constitutional rights. Tell your lawmakers that we won't stand for dangerous, unsupervised information sharing under the guise of cybersecurity," added the EFF.

However, F-Secure's internet security expert Mikko Hypponen told The INQUIRER that he believes CISPA isn't so much of a threat. "It's not at all similar to SOPA and ACTA, it's about catching cyber criminals," said Hypponen. "To me it reads like a good bill about fighting cyber crime."

Hypponen said that the CISPA bill is in fact the antithesis of the dreaded SOPA and ACTA bills, declaring those bills as nothing more than the brainchild of the entertainment industry.

"There's one party that's consistently been shouting the loudest for these [SOPA and ACTA] type of bills and that's the entertainment industry," said Hypponen. "I find funny that an industry that's meant to entertain us is shouting the loudest to restrict our online freedoms." µ


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