Facebook withdraws support of CISPA

I found this article on CNET and believe it ties in very nicely with our class discussions about privacy. The Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) is a proposed law in the USA which would allow the government to “investigate cyber threats and ensure the security of networks against cyberattack” by allowing the government to have access to Internet traffic information from many U.S. companies. The bill would overrule all existing federal and state laws by saying “notwithstanding any other provision of law.” Opponents of the bill say that the bill will “waive every single privacy law ever enacted in the name of cybersecurity” and U.S. Representative Ron Paul has even gone so far as to call the bill “Big Brother writ large.” The bill is supported by many telecommunications and information technology companies such as AT&T, IBM, INTEL, Oracle Corporation, Symantec, and Verizon. Facebook supported the bill until very recently when they withdrew support to promote consumer privacy.


I find this bill to be offensive and very much so an invasion of individual privacy. I am supportive of Facebook withdrawing from the bill as I believe it is detrimental to the quality of privacy for American citizens,  although I question Facebook’s motive for withdrawing as they did not withdraw until they went under the heat of a petition created to convince Mark Zuckerberg otherwise. I think it is very possible that Mark Zuckerberg may still support the petition, but is afraid to admit it due to consumer backlash and Facebook’s privacy issues in the past.


I think that if you look at the bill from a utilitarian point of view, it results in decreased happiness for all involved. Although some may argue that the decrease in cybercrime may increase happiness for all involved, I do not believe that the bill would be that effective in preventing or stopping crime and would mostly serve to annoy and scare many U.S. citizens.  I believe the bill would be used to prosecute people committing less threatening cybercrimes (downloading illegal music, movies, etc.) much, much more than it would ever have the potential to stop greater cybercrimes (overseas hacking, child abduction, etc.).

I am interested to hear what the rest of you think about this. Also, If you do think this bill would be effective, I encourage you to convince me otherwise.

2 Responses to Facebook withdraws support of CISPA

  1. PMazzarella24

    Frank, I agree with you in the regard that CISPA is an invasion of individual privacy. I will also say that it is an invasion of each company’s privacy as well. Like the Google scandal (posted 3/13/13) who knows what secrets and/or important information could be stumbled upon by the federal government. I also agree with you that the bill could be used to prosecute less threatening internet crimes, like piracy, in the name of national security. It’s almost like the government is using us (individuals and companies) as a means to pass CISPA and gain access to sensitive information.

    Also, When I look at the government’s reasoning behind CISPA, to “investigate cyber threats and ensure security of networks against cyber attack”, sounds great on paper, but I am scratching my head because how does allowing the government gaining access to internet traffic information prevent or stop cyber attacks? I do not think that CISPA is the way to go with dealing with cyber threats. As I see the need for protection against ever growing cyber threats, I do not believe sacrificing personal privacy is worth it. The only thing CISPA is doing is allowing the government to stick its nose where it does not being all in the name of national security.

  2. Franky_Begue

    I disagree with both PMazz and Frank on the terms that CISPA is not going to be used to invade the personal privacy of the average American citizen any more than what is already being done. That the thing – every time we hear about a new company that we utilize agreed to this – or some service company we use every day signed this petition for that law – we get scared. We are frightened because it always sounds like we’re getting more of our ‘internet rights’ taken away.

    Guess what ? The government doesn’t need to slip into the wiggle room in new legislation like CISPA in order to see that your downloading that movie/FinalCutPro2012 illegally. They already know – your ISP could have given you up awhile ago if anyone gave a sh*t about you and your little dirty deeds. This isn’t Terminator – we need to stop being in fear of a government big-brother type senario because it’ll NEVER HAPPEN – we need to be focusing on the clear and righteous path of figuring out how to protect ourselves in the future.

    And if you don’t like America’s current protection method of looking at all your data then ya’ll can gggggiit ‘out! merica ((unless, you know – your not a billionaire so you can’t get out :p ))