Mozilla has put its foot down and become the first to oppose the controversial bill, CISPA. Where Oracle, Microsoft and Facebook have supported the Internet surveillance bill that passed House last week, Mozilla now stands against.
Mozilla stated that even though they support a more secure internet, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, CISPA, is too vast and based on its writings, implies alarming plans that go beyond security. The technology company wrote to Forbes reporter Andy Greenberg that the bill causes damage to their privacy and has ambiguous details regarding cybersecurity. Security is one thing but CISPA goes on to provide immunity to companies and government that are too broad around information misuse.
Mozilla is officially the first major tech company to openly speak against CISPA. The Bill passed in a 248-168 vote and the same day Microsoft came out with their statement that their support was declining and that any new legislation must permit them to honor privacy and security promises the company makes to the customer. Despite the statement, Microsoft has not withdrawn the support till now.
Other technology companies that are in favor of the bill are Oracle, Symantec, Verizon, AT&T, Intel, and trade association CTIA. The last one basically includes representatives of Sybase, Nokia, Qualcomm and T-Mobile. If put forward by the Senate, CISPA would not officially permit the NSA or Homeland Security any further surveillance power.
However it would still give rise to a new way of information sharing between companies and government agencies with restricted oversight and privacy safeguards.
Regarding the Senate, Mozilla said that they hope the Senate fully looks over and considers these issues with stakeholder input before going ahead with this novel piece of legislation. It is true that America is under a grave threat of cyber attack. It is also true that the attack isn’t merely from hackers inside the country but foreign cyber weapons such as those being billed by Russia and China are competing against those America has at the moment.
The basic reason for overall opposition is that the bill may use private information and won’t really know what to do with that information. There is also the talk about how many personal details should the government being looking out for and how much they would need. If there were to be a threat of cyber attack, there is a vast spectrum as to how the threat could be propagated.
Privacy is a major concern from a teenager wanting it from their parents to the citizens of a country demanding from its government. Parents have found ways to combat the demand for privacy by spyware applications which are now commonly installed in the phones of their kids. These apps from Mobistealth or Flexispy are being used to supervise kids and thus keep them safe and secure. But the point opposition is trying to make here is, that not everyone in America is a kid and not everyone is a risk to the cybersecurity.
Representative Jared Polis who is a Colorado Democrat and onetime Web entrepreneur stated that CISPA would basically waive off every privacy law ever taken out in the name of cybersecurity. He said that allowing the NSA and military to supervise on Americans on American land is basically going against every principle the country was established on.
The future of CISPA is now headed to the Senate where related cybersecurity legislation has been delayed for years. The Senate Majority leader stated that he wished to go ahead with this legislation in May. By the looks of opponents rallying and the degree of debate, the outlook is uncertain.