Fight for the Future


Senate fails to advance CISA before recess amid rising grassroots opposition

Posted 16:45 EDT on August 5, 2015

Privacy & free speech groups plan turn #FaxBigBrother on large Web companies after generating 6 million+ faxes to Senate, plus tens of thousands of phone calls and tweets ahead of expected CISA vote

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WASHINGTON, DC––Today, the Senate delayed until after August recess an expected cloture vote to begin debate of CISA, the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, a bill that experts say will actually make the U.S. more vulnerable to cyber attacks, while dramatically expanding the government’s unpopular mass surveillance capabilities.

Following reports of the delay, Fight for the Future the group responsible for flooding Congress with more than 6 million faxes as part of Operation: #FaxBig Brother, announced they would be turning their viral campaign on large web companies who have been largely silent on the issue despite previous claims that they would fight in Congress for their customers privacy. Corporate offices of Facebook, Google, Yahoo, Dropbox, Microsoft, and other large companies can expect to start receiving a massive volume of faxes in the coming days.

Senate leadership had intended to move CISA to a cloture vote this afternoon, but failed to strike a deal as more and more members raised concerns with the bill in the wake of two weeks of intense grassroots action that flooded Senate offices with more than 6.2 million faxes in addition to tens of thousands of emails, phone calls, and tweets.

Most of the action came through FaxBigBrother.com a viral web page launched by Fight for the Future with a broad coalition of privacy and civil liberties groups. The campaign spread quickly on social media and was covered by The Guardian, TIME Magazine, CBS News, The Hill, Politico, and NPR’s All Things Considered. The six million faxes were also mentioned several times on the Senate floor by Senator Ron Wyden, a leading opponent of CISA.

To hammer home the scope of the opposition, Fight for the Future tweeted an image showing that 6 million faxes, if printed out, would stand more than 4 times as tall as the Washington Monument.

“Today’s delay is good news, but Internet users are outraged that Congress is even considering this dangerous and unpopular legislation, and even more outraged at the Web companies who stand to benefit financially from CISA’s sweeping legal immunity who have remained silent, putting all of their users’ privacy at risk,” said Evan Greer, Fight for the Future’s campaign director.

“Internet users are losing trust in the websites they use, and bills like CISA are a perfect example of why,” said Fight for the Future co-founder Tiffiniy Cheng. “As the Senate debates CISA, any technology company that doesn’t stand by their own privacy policy and refuse to be an informant for the government’s suspicionless spying programs will see their users abandon them. If CISA passes, these companies will be seen as spies for the NSA, greatly expanding the government’s watch lists and wrongful targeting of more and more Internet users. That will be the beginning of a giant backlash against those who once stood for the open Internet.”

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