Internet users are furious about media reports indicating that Speaker of the House Paul Ryan is manipulating Congressional process in an attempt to force a rushed vote on the final version of a controversial cyber-surveillance bill this week – and that the final language is even more draconian than expected, with the last vestiges of privacy protections stripped out.
Fight for the Future and other groups from across the political spectrum have been mobilizing Internet users to speak out about Ryan’s backroom dealing, demanding transparency in the process. Fight for the Future members alone have generated more than 50,000 tweets over the weekend focused on Ryan, and also calling for House Homeland Security Chair Michael McCaul––a key player in the negotiations––to stand up to leadership.
"This is Congress at its worst," said Evan Greer, campaign director of Fight for the Future, "Not only are they ignoring widespread public outcry and consensus from security experts that this bill will make us even more vulnerable to cyber attacks, they’re using a sneaky non-transparent process to force a rushed vote and keep the public, and even members of Congress, in the dark about what they’re really voting on."
"Paul Ryan seems to care very little for his party’s concerns as he rushes a vote on a bill that would turn corporations into government spies," added Tiffiniy Cheng, co-founder of Fight for the Future.
People close to the negotiations indicate that the final text is more than 100 pages long. It’s hard to imagine how members of Congress can be expected to meaningfully review the language, or get input from experts, if leadership succeeds in pushing through a vote this week.
Digital rights group Fight for the Future has been at the forefront of opposition to CISA. Earlier this year they lead a series of high profile campaigns, sparking a backlash that resulted in major tech companies like Apple, Google, Twitter, Dropbox, Yahoo, Wikipedia, Yelp, and Salesforce coming out in opposition to the bill. They have also mobilized more than 15,000 websites for an online protest, and generated more than 6 million faxes to the Senate, along with hundreds of thousands of emails and phone calls.
Other groups from across the political spectrum have opposed the bill, along with security experts. Below is a list of recent blog posts from groups opposing Paul Ryan’s attempt to rush CISA to a vote this week.
Campaign for Liberty:
Electronic Frontier Foundation:
American Library Association:
Open The Government:
Regardless of what happens with the cyber bill negotiations, any final bill will of course have to be signed by President Obama, who had previously promised to veto similar legislation without robust privacy protections. Fight for the Future and other groups will be demanding that Obama stand by his previous commitment, and calling for a veto on any bill that does not meet the White House’s previous standards.
Fight for the Future is a grassroots advocacy group with more than 1.4 million members that fights to protect the Internet as a powerful platform for freedom of expression and social change. They’re best known for organizing the massive online protests against SOPA, for net neutrality, and against government surveillance. Learn more at https://www.fightforthefuture.organd https://www.twitter.com/fightfortheftr