Fight for the Future


BREAKING: CISA-like cyber surveillance added to must-pass “omnibus” budget bill, gutted of privacy protections

Posted 01:33 EST on December 16, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 16, 2015

Contact: Evan Greer, 978-852-6457, press@fightforthefuture.org

Rising demand for President Obama to stand by previous threat to veto

After several delays due to widespread outcry over privacy and civil liberties concerns, Speaker of the House Paul Ryan has successfully exploited a loophole in congressional process to include the final version of a controversial cyber bill in the must-pass “omnibus” budget bill unveiled late Tuesday night.

This puts the controversial legislation on the path to a vote without meaningful transparency or debate on the final text, which has been significantly altered in secret negotiations and stripped of nearly all privacy protections.

“It’s clear now that this bill was never intended to prevent cyber attacks,” said Evan Greer, campaign director of Fight for the Future, “it’s a disingenuous attempt to quietly expand the U.S. government’s surveillance programs, and it will inevitably lead to law enforcement agencies using the data they collect from companies through this program to investigate, prosecute, and incarcerate more people, deepening injustices in our society while failing to improve security.”

“Congress has failed the Internet once again,” she added, “now it’s up to President Obama to prove that his administration actually cares about the Internet. If he does he has no choice but to veto this blatant attack on Internet security, corporate accountability, and free speech.”

Fight for the Future has been at the forefront of grassroots opposition to CISA, and its previous incarnation, CISPA. 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.

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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.org and https://www.twitter.com/fightfortheft

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White House in the spotlight as controversial CISA-like cyber spying added to “omnibus” must-pass budget bill

Posted 14:05 EST on December 14, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 14, 2015

Contact: Evan Greer, 978-852-6457, press@fightforthefuture.org

President Obama must veto dangerous attack on Internet security and free speech

Media reports and sources close to legislative negotiations indicate that the final version of controversial cyber surveillance bill CISA––which has been gutted of its already weak privacy protections––has been added to the “omnibus” must-pass budget bill that Congress is expected to take up this coming week in order to avoid a government shutdown.

Fight for the Future has launched an online action page ObamaDecides.org calling for President Obama to veto CISA in any form. The action tool allows concerned citizens to sign up to be “daily callers,” who will receive a phone prompt to call the White House every day until the administration issues a veto threat.

“Now is when we’ll find out whether President Obama really cares about the Internet and freedom of speech, or whether he’s happy to roll over and allow technologically illiterate members of Congress break the Internet in the name of cybersecurity,” said Evan Greer, campaign director of Fight for the Future, a leading digital rights group that has organized fierce grassroots resistance to CISA and similar bills, “This administration promised to veto any information sharing bill that did not adequately protect Internet users’ privacy, and the final version of this bill doesn’t even come close. It’s time for President Obama to deliver on his word.”

Fight for the Future has been at the forefront of grassroots opposition to CISA, and its previous incarnation, CISPA. 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.

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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

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BREAKING: 19 civil liberties organizations oppose final version of dangerous cyber bill

Posted 09:31 EST on December 9, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 9, 2015

Contact: Evan Greer, 978-852-6457, press@fightforthefuture.org 

A group of 19 civil liberties organizations from across the political spectrum this morning issued a letter to the White House and Congress urging lawmakers to oppose the final “conferenced” version of a dangerous cyber bill that experts say will dramatically expand government surveillance while failing to make us safer from cyber attacks.

Click here to view the letter and complete list of signers as a PDF.

“The final version of this bill is an insult to the public and puts all of us in greater danger of cyber attacks and government surveillance,” said Evan Greer, campaign director of Fight for the Future, who organized the letter, “This was already a fundamentally flawed piece of legislation, and now even the meager privacy protections it provided have been gutted, exposing it for what it really is: a bill to dramatically expand abusive government spying.”

The text of the letter is copied below. Signers include prominent civil liberties groups ranging from the American Library Association, Fight for the Future, Demand Progress, and Free Press Education Fund to FreedomWorks, Campaign for Liberty, and R-Street.

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December 9, 2015

Dear President Barack Obama and Members of Congress,

The undersigned organizations urge you to oppose the newly negotiated “conference”  legislation that purports to resolve differences between H.R. 1560, which includes both the Protecting Cyber Networks Act (PCNA) and the National Cybersecurity Protection Advancement Act of 2015 (NCPAA), and the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act of 2015 (CISA, S. 754). The current version of these bills is the result of secret negotiations between the House and Senate intelligence committees at the expense of critical expert input from the House Committee on Homeland Security, and it loses any advantages and improvements in the Homeland Security Committee’s own cybersecurity bill, the NCPAA.

Many organizations and companies† opposed CISA in its earlier form because they believed it would damage Americans’ privacy without improving security. Civil liberties organizations’ concerns are well known. Companies share many of the same concerns. But companies also work hard to earn users’ trust when it comes to privacy. Without that trust, business suffers. Instead of addressing these concerns with the existing bills, the current proposal would build a government regime that makes it impossible for companies to guarantee the protection of customers’ civil liberties and privacy, while also failing to meaningfully improve cybersecurity.

Specifically, the text just negotiated is publicly reported to include the following gravely flawed changes to the passed bills. These changes would render it an unacceptably compromised piece of legislation that will be both unhelpful for cybersecurity and dangerous to Americans’ civil liberties. Specifically, It threatens to:

-Create a loophole that would allow the President to remove the Department of Homeland Security, a civilian agency, as the lead government entity managing information sharing;

-Reduce privacy protections for Americans’ personal information;

-Overexpand the term “cyber threat" to facilitate the prosecution of crimes unrelated to cybersecurity;

-Expand already broad liability protection for information disclosure;

-Preempt state, local or tribal disclosure laws on any cyberthreat information shared by or with a State, tribal, or local government; and

-Eliminate a directive to ensure data integrity.

Moreover, these modifications worsen bills that already contained fundamental flaws. These bills, in particular CISA, would already:

-Dramatically expand the amount of sensitive information held by government agencies with dismal records on data security;

-Undermine civilian agency leadership of cybersecurity efforts;

-Institute blind, automatic transfer of personal information to intelligence agencies, including the National Security Agency, that would be authorized to use the information for non-cybersecurity purposes;

-Allow private entities to transfer irrelevant and sensitive personally identifiable information to the government without accountability;

-Allow companies and other entities to use “defensive measures” to protect “information systems,” which could unintentionally harm systems and computers of innocent parties; and

-Provide unnecessarily expansive liability protections to companies, thereby undermining customer trust and limiting judicial remedies for those whose rights are violated.

Because it fails to resolve these weaknesses originally present within the three bills and makes new and alarming changes to them, we strongly object to the intelligence committee’s latest iteration of “cybersecurity” legislation and the undemocratic process that produced it.

Please join us in rejecting these new, troubling flaws and insisting that any version of cybersecurity legislation brought to the floor of either chamber draws heavily upon NCPAA and the expertise and extensive input of the House Committee on Homeland Security.

Sincerely,

Advocacy for Principled Action in Government
Amicus
American Library Association
Bill of Rights Defense Committee
Campaign for Liberty
Constitutional Alliance
Defending Dissent Foundation
Demand Progress
DownsizeDC.org, Inc.
Fight for the Future
Free Press Action Fund
FreedomWorks
Media Alliance
Niskanen Center
OpenMedia
OpenTheGovernment.org
Our America Initiative
Restore the Fourth
R-Street Institute
X-Lab

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CISA: Internet users deluge House leadership with 50,000+ tweets after reports that Paul Ryan is trying to force a vote on controversial cyber bill this week

Posted 10:26 EST on December 8, 2015

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
December 8, 2015

Contact: Evan Greer, 978-852-6457, press@fightforthefuture.org

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.

FreedomWorks:
http://www.freedomworks.org/content/congress-poised-pull-cybersecurity-end-around

Campaign for Liberty:
http://www.campaignforliberty.org/back-deal-attempt-pass-cisa

Fight for the Future:
http://tumblr.fightforthefuture.org/post/134741217298/urgent-congress-pushing-shady-deal-to-pass-cisa

Electronic Frontier Foundation:
https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2015/12/tell-representative-mccaul-stand-strong-cisa

American Library Association:
https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2015/12/tell-representative-mccaul-stand-strong-cisa

Cory Doctorow:
http://boingboing.net/2015/12/07/act-congress-about-to-gut-pri.html

The Constitutional Alliance:
http://constitutionalalliance.org/articles/cisa-cyber-information-security-act-aka-cybersecurity-information-sharing-act-urgent-mark

Open The Government:
http://www.openthegovernment.org/node/5069

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.

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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

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URGENT: Congress pushing shady deal to pass CISA this week

Posted 14:50 EST on December 7, 2015
image

Hey, we just got word that pro-surveillance forces in the House of Representatives are pushing hard for a backroom deal that would force a rushed vote on a final version of CISA, the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act, this week.

Here’s the worst part: the final version of the bill appears even more draconian than expected, with the last vestiges of privacy protections stripped out. [1]

The final language is somewhat of a “Frankenstein” bill that combines the worst aspects of several cyber bills that Congress has been considering. It’s more than 100 pages long, but Paul Ryan, the new Speaker of the House, is trying to steamroll dissenting voices and ram through a vote before anyone has even had time to read the whole thing.

Remember the PATRIOT Act? This could be even worse. But it’s also a risky play – if enough members of Congress get upset about this abusive manipulation of Congressional process, CISA could implode.

Time-sensitive: click here to tweet at Paul Ryan right now telling him not to force a vote on CISA.

Not on twitter? Call his office at: (202) 225-3031

Things are moving extremely quickly, so timing is everything. There’s no time for emails or petitions to Congress to get through right now, but we’ve been hearing more and more from staffers on Capitol Hill that they *really* notice when they get a lot of tweets about an issue.

Sometimes even just a few dozen tweets can be enough to affect a Representative’s vote.

We need to make sure that Paul Ryan gets the message that CISA is politically toxic. That’s the only way to slow it down.

But to help make that happen, we also need to get some of the members of the “Freedom Caucus,” who ostensibly oppose overly broad government surveillance, to speak up and oppose Ryan’s dirty dealing.

If you only have a second, click here to tweet at Rep.Paul Ryan to slow down CISA.

If you have two seconds, click here to also tweet at Rep. Mike McCaul, who is the other key player in these negotiations.

And if you’ve got two minutes, please go down the list below and tweet at these other key members of the House who can help stop CISA from barreling through without any meaningful review of the final text.

Did you make it through the whole list? You’re a true Internet hero.

Thanks for all that you do. We’ll keep you posted as things develop.

-Jeff at FFTF

P.S. To understand one of the less-discussed dangers of CISA, check out this CNN article about how corporations and the government collude to hide major hacks. CISA would give more companies legal immunity and cover for this type of abuse.

[1] The Hill. Cyber bill’s final language likely to anger privacy advocates. http://thehill.com/policy/cybersecurity/262281-cyber-bills-final-language-will-anger-privacy-advocates

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