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Week of Action to Oppose CISPA!

Last Updated on May 19, 2020, 10:00 am ET

Well, the week is half over, but I hope it’s not too late to jump onto this very important bandwagon with a short blog post explaining why libraries should oppose CISPA – a “cybersecurity” bill that’s moving in the House of Representatives despite massive opposition from the privacy and civil liberties community and a veto threat from the White House (which privacy advocates have urged President Obama to reiterate).

As the EFF points out, the objectionable provisions of CISPA include:

  • Eviscerating existing privacy laws by giving overly broad legal immunity to companies who share users’ private information, including the content of communications, with the government.
  • Authorizing companies to disclose users’ data directly to the NSA, a military agency that operates secretly and without public accountability.
  • Broad definitions that allow users’ sensitive personal information to be used for a range of purposes, including for “national security,” not just computer and network security.

The coalition EFF is leading, of which ARL is a part, believes that legislation intended to enhance our computer and network security must not sacrifice long-standing civil liberties and privacy protections.

The freedom of inquiry is a core research library value, and it requires meaningful privacy. Otherwise, researchers will have to think twice before embarking on a research project that, however innocent, may trigger law enforcement curiosity.

CISPA would create a broad, unchecked flow of information from technology providers, including providers who serve libraries, directly to military agencies, with very little limitation on how those agencies use that information. The chill on inquiry could be significant.

That’s why ARL has joined this coalition to oppose CISPA. You can use the EFF’s advocacy tools to join us, and we hope you will.