CDT is deeply concerned about the privacy and civil liberties implications of CISPA. With the support of Internet users, CDT and other groups have been working hard to make sure the legislation is narrowly focused on security, not surveillance. But launching cybersecurity attacks against the bill’s supporters is unethical and counterproductive. It shows fundamental disrespect for both the democratic process and the privacy and speech rights of Internet users. It also provides additional ammunition for those who say radical and sweeping cybersecurity measures that violate privacy are warranted.
The debate over SOPA/PIPA showed that regular Internet users can use legitimate tactics to profoundly influence the legislative process. Those who use threats and attacks undermine the collaborative effort to build a legitimate democratic movement in support of the open Internet.
Perhaps John Perry Barlow’s Declaration of Independence of Cyberspace said it best: “We believe that from ethics, enlightened self interest and the commonweal, our governance will emerge.” Saying no to attacks as an advocacy tactic must be part of our ethical core.