NEW: Facebook quietly lobbying for CISA while being shielded by trade associationsPosted 11:23 EDT on October 24, 2015
Edward Snowden promotes Fight for the Future’s campaign demanding Facebook come clean
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
October 24, 2015
Contact: Tiffiniy Cheng, 413-367-6255, firstname.lastname@example.org
New information has surfaced about Facebook’s position on S. 754, the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA). Sources on the Hill tell us that Facebook lobbyists are welcoming CISA behind closed doors, even though Facebook has been lauded as opposing the bill after CCIA, an industry association they are a member of, came out against it.. CISA would give companies like Facebook legal immunity for violating privacy laws as long as they share information with the government. It’s supposed to be for cybersecurity, but in reality companies would be encouraged to share information beyond cyber threat data and the information could be used for prosecuting all kinds of activities.
Based on this information, Fight for the Future has launched a petition demanding that Facebook come clean about its stance on CISA: https://www.youbetrayedus.org/facebook
NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden tweeted about the campaign last night: https://twitter.com/Snowden/status/658398460954214400
Facebook has come under public fire for its permissive use of user data and pioneering privacy-invasive experiments in the past. They have also supported previous versions of the cybersecurity info-sharing bills, and their chief Senate lobbyist, Myriah Jordan, worked as General Counsel for CISA’s sponsor, Senator Richard Burr, immediately before moving to Facebook. Facebook has declined to take a public position on CISA, but in recent days sources have confirmed that in fact Facebook is quietly lobbying the Senate to pass it. Fight for the Future has launched a campaign to demand Facebook take a public position.
“At a time when CISA is being rejected by the public, security experts, and even the tech industry it’s supposed to protect, it was suspicious that Congress is barrelling forward with this bill at breakneck speed. Now, it seems we have part of the answer. Facebook’s quiet lobbying is an example of why Facebook will go down as the most hated tech company in history,” said Fight for the Future Co-director Tiffiniy Cheng, “If Facebook wants to reclaim their credibility on user privacy, they need to take a stand against CISA.”
Last month, the Business Software Alliance, which represents Apple, Microsoft, and other major tech companies, clarified that it does not support any of the three information sharing bills before Congress after Fight for the Future ran a public campaign called YouBetrayedUs and initiated a boycott of Heroku, the web hosting service owned by Salesforce, that spurred a flurry of angry emails from consumers targeting companies that signed a BSA letter that appeared to support CISA. Salesforce’s CEO also took to twitter condemning the BSA letter and saying his company opposes CISA.
The grassroots campaigns have sparked an avalanche of opposition from the tech industry as well. In the last two weeks, Twitter, Yelp, reddit, and Wikipedia weighed in against CISA. CCIA, an industry association representing tech giants, including Facebook, as well as Google, Yahoo, Amazon, Sprint, and others, also issued a statement slamming the bill. Mozilla, imgur, Wordpress, Craigslist, Namecheap, and hundreds of other companies have opposed CISA and similar information sharing legislation in the past.
“The U.S. government’s deplorable surveillance programs and pathetic cybersecurity have already severely damaged the public’s trust in tech companies and Congress,” said Evan Greer, campaign director of Fight for the Future. “If they choose to ignore the overwhelming opposition to this bill and pass it anyway, that damage could become irreparable. This moment will go down in history, and politicians need to decide which side of history they want to be on: the side that fought for freedom or the side that gave it away.”
Fight for the Future and other groups generated millions of emails, petition signatures, calls, tweets, and more than 6.2 million faxes to members of Congress (although it appears that the Senate may have blocked or otherwise lost the vast majority of the faxes, a disturbing footnote given the disconnect between Congress’ discussions of the bill and the overwhelming public opposition). The hashtag #CISA has also been completely flooded with tweets opposing the bill.
The bill, which has been lambasted by security experts, privacy activists, and major tech companies, would give corporations legal immunity to share data with the U.S. government, a move that experts say would not prevent cyber attacks but could enable sweeping new levels of government surveillance.
A final vote is expected on Tuesday.