Washington D.C. (July 30, 2015) – Advocates behind the viral campaign "Operation: #FaxBigBrother" today announced that concerned Internet users have generated more than 6.1 million facsimiles opposing S. 754, the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA.) The faxes, sent because Congress is "stuck in 1984," will be constantly flooding into U.S. Senate offices in the coming days, encouraging members to vote against a bill that experts say will fail to prevent cyber attacks like the OPM hacks and allow for exponentially more government surveillance.
The faxed messages were generated by Internet users visiting two websites as part of a "Week of Action" against CISA: www.faxbigbrother.com and www.stopcyberspying.com, using technology developed by Fight for the Future, which is currently running the entire operation out of their CTO Jeff Lyon’s attic. The fax blasting set-up involves a dedicated server and a dozen phone lines and modems capable of sending tens of thousands of faxes per day. (See photos of the FaxRobot here.)
"The Internet is clearly pissed off that Congress is trying to pass off a blatant surveillance bill as ‘cybersecurity’" said Tiffiniy Cheng, Co-Founder and Co-Director of Fight for the Future. "We’ve defeated information sharing bills like CISA over and over again. Congress should stop embarrassing themselves and listen to the experts who say we need better security, not more spying."
Leadership previously made clear their intent to pass the bill before the summer work period. After intense opposition during the week of action, that is no longer certain.
"The Senate may be stuck in 1984, but we’ll make sure they get the message one way or another," said Nathan White, senior legislative manager at Access. "If we are able to derail this bill it’s a big win for our right to privacy. Senate leadership made it clear that they intended to pass the bill before recess. The failure to do so, in the face of public opposition during the week of action, would be a clear failure for CISA."
Also this week, a letter in opposition to CISA was signed by 68 organizations and security researchers, and dozens of groups have written blogs and public statements, collated at www.stopcyberspying.com.
"With millions of faxes queued up to be sent to Congress, there is clearly an incredible amount of opposition to CISA. The Senate ought to take this sign into consideration when deciding on whether to proceed with CISA. Otherwise there’s likely to be a paper shortage on the Hill shortly,” said Ryan Hagemann, Civil Liberties Policy Analyst at the Niskanen Center.
“Civil libertarians finally figured out that we needed to speak to Congress at their technical level – so we’ve sent them 6 million faxes explaining why their cybersecurity ideas are antiquated and their lack of technological acumen so remarkably dangerous,” stated Sascha Meinrath, Director of X-Lab.
The Operation: #FaxBigBrother week of action was organized by Fight for the Future, Access, and the Electronic Frontier Foundation, with support from a dozen diverse privacy and civil liberties groups including the ACLU, American Library Association, National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers, Freedom of the Press Foundation, Constitution Project. Association of Research Libraries, Niskanen Center, Free Press, The X-Lab, Sunlight Foundation, and Media Alliance.