By Alexandra Burlacu | Apr 22, 2013 10:25 AM EDT
Hacktivist group Anonymous asked websites to black out their front pages on Monday, April 22, in protest against the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA).
The CISPA legislation in the U.S. would allow government agencies and online companies to more easily share personal information. CISPA is meant to promote better sharing of information during active cyberattacks. In other words, it would allow intelligence agencies to share classified information on cyberthreats with private firms, a move that is currently prohibited. CISPA also protects firms that share cyberthreat information with other firms or the government from facing privacy lawsuits filed by users.
According to critics, however, CISPA would allow private companies to share a wide range of customer data with each other, as well as the government. Privacy advocates also note that the legislation does not require such companies to eliminate unnecessary customer information from what they share. While the bill passed last week in the U.S. House of Representatives, the Senate is yet to give its approval. Advisors to President Barack Obama promised a veto.
"We are the Internet. Again, you are trying to pass this ridiculous CISPA law in order to control and censor the people. This will not stand," states Anonymous. "You already control the media, the economy, the criminal underworld, your national plots and our energy. YOU WILL NOT GET OUR INTERNET!"
Anonymous further notes that CISPA would turn Google, Facebook and Twitter into "legally untouchable government spies." According to the group, any Facebook user could see their data handed over directly to the U.S. government. Over 1.5 million people signed petitions against CISPA, but the fight's not over yet.
"We are going dark on MONDAY April 22nd at 6 AM GMT for 24 hours to protest your illogical and terrorizing bill against the Internet itself. Even with the whole Internet crying out to stop this BILL, the US House of Representatives failed to do so blinded by our lobbyist's money and c*m in your eyes. So we will take action ourselves and open your eyes," blasts the hacktivist group.
"Every popular/mainstream website will be black until you, Mr. DronObama promise us to use your VETO power to stop this bill at Senate. Take this as a protest or a warning, as you wish. One thing is for certain, neither you or anyone else in this world can control the Internet, so don't even try. Stop wasting taxpayers' money into doing these kind of shenanigans."
Anonymous and other groups called for this blackout last week, using the hashtags #CISPAblackout and #StopCISPA. The campaign is meant to repeat last year's anti-SOPA blackout, in which Wikipedia, Reddit and Google participated as well. Monday's CISPA protest, however, seems mostly limited to the hacker and Anonymous circles. No major mainstream websites currently appear on the list of participants. For now, the protest against CISPA seems to have little traction.
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