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Fight for the Future steps in to save Google, Twitter and Facebook from CISPA

Humourous take on a serious subject
Thu Apr 11 2013, 11:15

INTERNET ACTIVISTS have clubbed together to offer three large technology companies some advice on protecting themselves from the US Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA).

Reddit co-founder Alexis Ohanian and Fight for the Future said that they have joined forces to "save Google, Twitter, and Facebook's Privacy Policy" from CISPA.

They have posted a video in which Ohanian calls up the companies and asks them about their policies.

"I'm hoping all of these tech companies take the stand that their privacy policies matter. Their users' privacy matters. And no legislation like CISPA should take that away," said Ohanian in the video.

In the video he tries to speak to Larry Page at Google. The receptionist says that no one by that name works at Google.

It is a very light-hearted attempt to raise awareness of a very serious subject. "CISPA contains a clause that allows companies to share users' private data with the government with complete legal immunity 'notwithstanding any other provision of law'," warn the activists.

Concerned parties are asked to sign a petition that calls on the three firms to make a stand for personal privacy. There is also the option to send tweets to the companies, drawing their attention to the video and asking for their response.

According to Fight for the Future, Facebook has withdrawn its previous support for CISPA, while Twitter and Google have yet to make any public statements on their stances.

Evan Greer, campaign manager for Fight for the Future, told the INQUIRER that CISPA is a "privacy nightmare", and not just for US citizens.

"CISPA is a privacy nightmare, not just for U.S. Citizens but for anyone who has data on US servers (that means anyone with a Facebook or Google account.) Under CISPA, corporations will receive sweeping legal immunity to share our private data (think bank statements, tax documents, purchase history, and contents of private emails) with the government in ways that are currently illegal thanks to privacy protections," said Greer.

Greer said that although the three companies had come out against other acts, Stop Online Piracy, for example, they may be reluctant to do the same again here.

"CISPA is a bit different, while it will have a terrifying impact on internet users' rights, it doesn't create any new problems for these giant tech companies, and in fact, they will probably welcome the blanket legal immunity it provides them for ‘any decision' they make, as long as it's for (broadly defined) ‘cybersecurity' reasons," Greer added.

"Our hope, though, is that these companies will see the bigger picture here and choose to do the right thing. Although CISPA may not be bad for their business, it will be detrimental to their users' privacy, and the privacy of every single one of their employees. If they truly care about their users' privacy, they will join the fight to kill the bill that would override every privacy policy on the web, and every privacy law on the books." µ


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