[Two]Face[D]Book? Facebook May Be Pushing for Controversial CISA Bill
The Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA) has found vocal opponents in several prominent U.S. senators and some of the world’s most widely-used tech companies including Apple, Google and Twitter. However, sources close to privacy-rights group Fight for the Future have the group alleging that Facebook is actually supporting the CISA bill while publicly being opposed to it.
Non-profit group Fight for the Future is alleging that Facebook lobbyists are for the CISA behind closed doors, despite Facebook being openly lauded among companies such as Apple and Google for their stand against government backdoors and their commitment to user privacy.
A petition was quickly raised on YouBetrayedUs.org by the pro-privacy rights group and has not pulled any punches in demanding Facebook to make a clear and public stance on CISA.
Citing sources who gave the group information about Facebook secretively lobbying for the “dirty bill called CISA,” the bill would actually give Facebook free reign and impunity to violate Facebook users’ privacy – as long as the information taken from users is also shared or handed over to the government.
Noting that companies such as Apple are against the bill for privacy reasons, Facebook is apparently working behind the scenes to ensure that the bill goes through. The petition added:
Mark Zuckerberg once called Facebook users “dumb f*cks” for trusting him with their data. Now he’s trying to take advantage of us. If CISA passes, all your photos, posts, relationships, and likes will have a path to government databases.”
The press release notes that Facebook has taken criticism in the past for their “Pioneering privacy-invasive experiments” and its “permissive use of user data.”
The summary of CISA on the Congress website explicitly notes:
(Sec. 4) Permits private entities to monitor, and operate defensive measures to detect, prevent, or mitigate cybersecurity threats or security vulnerabilities on: (1) their own information systems; and (2) with authorization and written consent, the information systems of other private or government entities.
Requires the federal government and entities monitoring, operating, or sharing indicators or defensive measures.
Quite simply, the petition bullets the summary by noting that:
- All existing privacy policies between the user and a service like Facebook or Twitter, etc., will be rendered void. Companies can share any private data with the government without the need for a warrant when it comes to the government claiming the information for ‘cybersecurity’ reasons.
- For facilitating this delivery of private user information, companies are given carte blanche-type total immunity from civil and criminal prosecution if, for instance, an illegal wiretap was used during the sharing of data.
- Data can be shared among plenty of law enforcement agencies such as the NSA, the IRS, and the FBI among others. Ironically, they are likely to be ripe targets for hackers.
- Participating companies will have the means to gather classified data such as private information about their own competitors.
The Backlash Against CISA
The Business Software Alliance, a collective representing the likes of Apple, Microsoft, Twitter and other major tech companies was unequivocal in its standing of opposing the information sharing bill. A previous campaign by YouBetrayedUs among other social campaigns garnered the support of the tech industry.
Several companies took a public stand against the CISA.
— reddit (@reddit) October 15, 2015
Security+privacy are both priorities for us and therefore we can't support #CISA as written. We hope to see positive changes going forward.
— Policy (@policy) October 20, 2015
— Wikimedia Policy (@wikimediapolicy) October 17, 2015
Congress is trying to pass a "cyber security" bill that threatens your privacy. Join us & others to oppose: http://t.co/WtpEoS4ESS
— Yelp (@Yelp) October 19, 2015
Furthermore, the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA), a trade group representing tech companies on a global scale including the likes of Amazon, British Telecom, Yahoo, T-Mobile, Samsung, Pandora, PayPal, Netflix and even Facebook, was clear opposing the bill.
Facebook is alleged to be pushing for the bill, with Facebook’s current chief Senate lobbyist, Myriah Jordan supposedly leading the company’s cause. Previously, Jordan was the General Counsel for CISA’s sponsor, Senator Richard Burr before landing a job at Facebook.
The CISA is due a final vote tomorrow on Tuesday and Fight for the Future Co-director Tiffiniy Cheng was scathing in her disdain for Facebook’s alleged pro-CISA stance behind the scenes.
She concluded by saying:
If Facebook wants to reclaim their credibility on user privacy, they need to take a stand against CISA.
Images from Shutterstock and Flickr.