WASHINGTON – This week, as the Cybersecurity Act moves to the Senate floor, CDT is joining a wide-ranging coalition of digital rights groups and advocates to launch the second Stop Cyber Spying campaign.
The campaign will encourage individuals to contact their Senators in support of amendments to the bill that would better safeguard privacy. One amendment from Senators Al Franken and Rand Paul would ensure companies do not have new, overbroad authority to monitor and block private communications. Another amendment from Senator Patrick Leahy would ensure that law enforcement officers obtain a warrant in order to compel ISPs and other companies to turn over private communications content. The Leahy amendment has drawn support from companies, trade associations, and groups across the political spectrum.
Other amendments would go in the wrong direction, removing privacy protections in the bill, and handing the reins of America’s cybersecurity systems to the NSA, a super secret military intelligence agency, which is not accountable to the public for what it does with our private data.
“Engaged Internet users and advocacy groups have secured important privacy fixes in the Cybersecurity Act, but as debate moves to the Senate floor this week, we must remain vigilant or we could see our privacy and civil liberties gains wiped out by bad amendments,” said Mark Stanley, CDT Campaign and Communications Strategist.
Last April, a similar coalition joined forces for the original Stop Cyber Spying campaign, a week of action in opposition to the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, otherwise known as CISPA. Ultimately, CISPA passed the House of Representatives, but not before major outcry that helped lead to substantial privacy improvements, a veto threat from the White House, and a significant number of “no” votes on a bill that previously looked poised to sail through with little opposition.
The Stop Cyber Spying campaign is now working to promote floor amendments that will protect privacy and to beat back amendments that would make the Senate bill look like CISPA .
The Twitter hashtag for the campaign is #DefendPrivacy.