Image via YouTube / Alexis Ohanian
Remember CISPA? It's the piracy-invading cybersecurity bill that Congress shelved last year after widespread outrage over provisions that would allow companies like Facebook, Google and Twitter to fork over your data to intelligence agencies. And it's back.
Reddit co-founder and self-identified Internet freedom activist Alexis Ohanian recently posted a fresh appeal for tech companies to get behind the fight against CISPA, which has largely laid dormant for months. In a YouTube video, Ohanian tried calling up Mark Zuckerberg and Larry Page and whomever's running thigns at Twitter these days to see what they were doing to stop the bill. None of them picked up.
The stunt's pegged to a closed-door House Intelligence Committee markup of the bill, one that's ostensibly aimed at producing a version that the Senate would pick up and that Obama would sign. The Senate ignored and Obama threatened to veto the last version. The House has been more bullish about the bill and have even found a way to connect it to such hot topics as jobs and the economy.
"American businesses are under siege," said Rep. Mike Rogers, a Michigan Republican, in a statement. "We need to provide American companies the information they need to better protect their networks from these dangerous cyber threats. It is time to stop admiring this problem and deal with it immediately. Congress urgently needs to pass our cyber threat information sharing bill to protect our national security, our economy, and U.S. jobs."
The big question now is whether or not Ohanian will be able to mobilize the army of Redditors he helped train. (How could you say no to those puppy dog eyes?) The fight against SOPA and PIPA is remembered with a historical sense of gravity as the moment the Internet said no, and the government was forced to listen. However, whereas those bills dealt with copyright laws that stood to mainly benefit the entertainment industry, CISPA is more or less a bill that promotes national security. Those two words make politicians do weird things.