Internet Governance

Coming Out Against CISPA

CISPA is back and ServInt stands firmly against it.

This coming week, our COO, Christian Dawson, and his partners at the Internet Infrastructure Coalition (i2C) are once again heading up to Capitol Hill to speak out against proposed Internet security legislation that would stifle innovation and compromise the privacy of all Internet users.

After last year’s battle over SOPA and PIPA, Christian and the fledgling i2C emerged as thought leaders and hosting industry experts that Congress turned to in order to better understand the pitfalls of ill-conceived Internet regulation. With the resurgence of the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) – another Internet security bill that passed the House of Representatives only to stall out in the Senate last year – Christian and the i2C are headed back to make sure Congress protects the rights and privacy of all Internet users.

What is CISPA?

CISPA basically encourages the sharing of information on cyber threats between business and government and vice versa, providing far-reaching legal immunity to companies that choose to share information and data they deem relevant. This would leave the owners of that data little protection or recourse to sue should their data be turned over to the government without due process.

Why now?

With continuing Internet-based threats in the news and President Obama’s recent executive order granting the federal government greater leeway in sharing cyber threat details with the public sector, Reps. Mike Rogers (R-MI) and Dutch Ruppersberger (D-MD) reintroduced CISPA earlier this month in the hopes of easing the regulations in place that protect data from warrantless government intrusion.

ServInt’s stance

ServInt stands opposed to CISPA because it contains vague language that may open consumers up to significant invasions of privacy and allow them little or no recourse in a court of law.

By creating a business environment that includes the legal warrantless sharing of private customer information with the government without regard to the potential use of that data, CISPA potentially puts American companies at a disadvantage in the global marketplace where competitors in foreign markets will claim that using U.S. providers will violate provisions of national laws, especially those in the European Union.

Furthermore, CISPA may create conflicts with FTC obligations. Because Internet infrastructure companies cannot control the further sharing of information both with companies and the federal government, they will not be able to accurately disclose the uses of information in their privacy policies. While CISPA does contain an exemption from liability for the actual sharing of information, it does not contain an exemption from regulatory action based on inconsistencies it creates with current obligations.

To help educate lawmakers on the implications of CISPA, and to represent the interests of Internet infrastructure companies, Christian will be heading to Washington D.C. on February 27th as part of i2C’s Internet Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill. He will be joined by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR), Sen Jerry Moran (R-KS), and other members of the i2C in a day of workshops and lectures educating Congress and members of the press on the Internet industry and the importance of supporting legislative and regulatory strategies that promote Internet growth and innovation.

Stay tuned to the ServInt Source for more on CISPA as well as updates on Internet Advocacy Day on Capitol Hill.

Photo by Free Press Pics
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