The American Library Association’s Washington Office has asked members (and any librarians not yet members) to reach out to their U.S. Representatives to oppose the latest cybersecurity bill.
We did a great job knocking down SOPA & PIPA, and now it’s time to speak out against CISPA before it goes for a vote in the House of Representatives. From District Dispatch:
ALA is concerned that essentially all private electronic communications could be obtained by the government and used for many purposes – and not just for cybersecurity activities. H.R. 3523 would permit, even require ISPs and other entities to monitor all electronic communications and share personal information with the government without effective oversight just by claiming the sharing is for “cybersecurity purposes.”
For more information including links to find your Representative’s phone number and Twitter handle, plus talking points, check out ALA’s piece written yesterday.
Behind closed doors, a multinational committee whose members cannot be held accountable by voters (such as members of the Senate and House of Representatives) has been developing a vague agreement that could potentially infringe on your trade, copyright, and intellectual property rights.
ACTA’s reach is wider and more open to abuse than SOPA & PIPA, and it should be getting much more attention than the “internet killers” shelved earlier this month. Zach Whittaker of ZDNet explains what ACTA covers:
Initially it was thought that ACTA would enable governments to effectively work together in tandem across borders to prevent counterfeit goods, like medicines and knock-off technology goods for example, from entering the market. The Act aims to protect the economy and end-consumers’ confidence.
But it is becoming increasingly clear that though the ACTA name uses the word “counterfeiting” in its title, it vastly focuses on the transfer of copyrighted materials online. The agreement will make it easier for law enforcement and ISPs (’intermediaries’) to monitor consumers, and impose new criminal sanctions on those who flout copyright and patent laws.
Although SOPA and PIPA were shelved last week, the issues that these bills bring up are not over. We still need to continue to work to preserve an open Internet. Until the dawn of the web, sharing was always recognized as a legal practice. The Internet has made a business of limitless producing, consuming, sharing, and remixing — something that now defines our everyday lives. These videos help explain the root of the issues and their history dating back to when media companies reacted to VHS and cassette tapes.
I have yet to meet a librarian who supports the Stop Online Piracy Act for its ideology. We spend our days encouraging the free flow of information and knowledge sharing, both between our institutions and users as well as between users. Uncensored user-generated content is what makes the Internet sing, and the last decade has seen a communications phenomenon flourish and support revolutions, disaster response and relief, and the arts. What if one user links to a site with pirated content and the entire website was shut down?
What we are losing is not only freedom of information & speech, but businesses and therefore jobs. Librarians are growing in the tech industry, finding their ways in social media, web design and startups. The destruction of an entire industry is as disastrous for its workers as it is for its consumers. Part of We Are Librarians’ mission is to promote information professionals in this industry, for its innovation, increased opportunities and not to mention, income. This post is not about money, however; it’s about our futures. Let’s act now, friends.
Here’s what you can do:
Sign the petition currently hosted on whitehouse.gov’s We the People platform. The President has been quiet on this issue so far.
Continue to call and email Congress, censor your website and use the #censorshipeverywhere tool — all available from americancensorship.org.