Congress ‘fails the internet again’, sneaks spying bill into emergency budget

Congress ‘fails the internet again’, sneaks spying bill into emergency budget

Under the guise of acting to prevent government shutdown, Congress has introduced a last-minute, 2,000-page budget bill onto the table, which also includes the controversial Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act.

The surveillance bill was first introduced in 2014, designed to make it easier for the NSA to work with companies to spy on the public.

The bill has fallen or been knocked off the agenda three times already and this attempt to pass it seems to have been designed to sneak it past Congress when they’re most distracted.

This version of the document has been stripped of protections including ensuring data is anonymized and preventing the NSA from dealing directly with companies.

The grassroots campaign group Fight for the Future, which stopped SOPA passing through congress in 2012 thanks to a huge campaign between citizens and tech companies, has called out the move on Tumblr.

Evan Greer, campaign director, said:

It’s clear now that this bill was never intended to prevent cyber attacks. 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. 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.

The organisation already mobilised 19 civil liberties organisations to oppose the final version of the bill earlier this month.

BREAKING: CISA-like cyber surveillance added to must-pass “omnibus” budget bill, gutted of privacy protections [Fight for the Future via The Verge]

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