Hey Reddit,

On Wednesday, the House will mark up CISPA, the dangerous "cybersecurity" bill that will have huge effects on Internet privacy. Can you help us stop it? AMA.

We'll begin answering questions at 1pm eastern sharp.

Answering questions today are:

Proof it’s us: https://twitter.com/ACLU/status/320254261168594944

For a breakdown of why CISPA is such a dangerous bill, go here: http://www.aclu.org/blog/tag/cispa-explainer

To read CISPA (H.R. 624), go here: http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/BILLS-113hr624ih/pdf/BILLS-113hr624ih.pdf

Take Action

Demand that President Obama veto CISPA, here: https://www.aclu.org/secure/tell-obama-veto-CISPA

Contact your members of Congress and tell them to oppose this dangerous privacy busting bill: https://action.eff.org/o/9042/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=9048

UPDATE:The pace of questions is picking up so we're going to keep going until 5:30pm eastern, but Michelle will keep answering questions sporadically over the next day or so. If you haven't done so, please take action above by asking President Obama to veto CISPA and/or tell your members of Congress to oppose this privacy-busting bill.

Comments: 163 • Responses: 32  • Date: 

neonshadow27 karma

I want to give you guys money, but you won't take my bitcoins. Now that the government has officially legalized them, what is your excuse?

raineyr19 karma

Stay tuned.

cottoncandysex5 karma

How much longer will we have to stay tuned? You had an AMA about two months ago and I didn't see you answer or acknowledged any mentions of bitcoin in the comments. But maybe your reply was lost somewhere in one of the many comments and I missed it

Shadedjon7 karma

I've been consistently bugging you guys for months now. If I stay tuned any longer I'll turn into a potato.

raineyr7 karma

I promise you won't turn into a potato before we publish our response, even if you're turning into a potato relatively quickly.

nickthequickpik26 karma

I'm all for social action, but I'd like to know; how can I be sure that signing your petition is the most effective way to express my dissent for CISPA? And if it isn't, what is? That said, I appreciate your guys' efforts to destroy/inform people of CISPA and it's evils.

adiEFF33 karma

The most effective way to express dissent is a combination of contacting those in power and then being LOUD. Staffers count how many people take action—whether through the ACLU petition for Obama to veto CISPA, or through EFF's action that directly contacts your members of Congress.

The next step—and perhaps the more important step—is for you to spread the word about CISPA and its huge concerns. Tweet about it, post about it on Facebook, yell it from the rooftops (safely)... The bill is being marked up and voted on these next few weeks. People need to learn about CISPA's dangers and take action today.

Richardson_Mich6 karma

There are a number of things you can do right now. Signing our petition to the Pres is certainly one of them. The other is contacting your member of the House, by email or phone to tell them to vote "no," or use EFF's tweet tool. We are happy for folks to use whatever tools best make sense for them. The key is logging the contacts.

jokeefe22 karma

How far along in Congress is CISPA?

JaycoxEFF28 karma

CISPA is currently at the "markup" stage. This means that the bill has been introduced and will be discussed by the full committee at a meeting. The committee will vote on amendments, edit (ie, "markup") the bill, and vote on a final version of the bill. Once the final version is voted "out of committee," it will be ready for a full floor vote where the entire House can vote on it.

thaweatherman10 karma


Richardson_Mich8 karma

Dutch, is that you???

Seriously, though, I think it remains to be seen. Members are waiting to see how the bill is reported from markup, how the advocacy community and the internet responds, and what the President says about the final product. There is a short period of time left, but lots of room for movement. There were 168 bipartisan no votes last Congress, and I think we can get more this time around.

Richardson_Mich10 karma

The House Intel Committee will hold a closed markup this Wednesday. The full House will vote on it next week, exact day TBD. CISPA action needs to happen soon - the House is moving fast and will be done with its first round of info sharing legislation by the end of next week.

sep33219 karma

Why don't you link to the actual, short text of the bill from any of your activist websites? It's right here: http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/113/hr624/text

aclu18 karma

Good suggestion: I just did above. Thanks.

raineyr9 karma

Also joining is @TrevorEFF, EFF activist extraordinaire.

Kmartins9 karma

If things like this have been shot down so many times, why won't they just give it up?

Richardson_Mich10 karma

A House of Congress will often pass the same or similar bills multiple times before a final version is passed through both chambers and signed by the President. Cyber is hot; Congress will pursue this even if it takes several attempts to get a bill. We are trying to urge them to take up other issues that are civil liberties friendly instead of using it as an opportunity to collect ever more info on American internet users.

UnWorldly8 karma

is there really any chance that they wont force this through eventually?

they have been so remarkably persistent, it is very discouraging.

We make this huge effort and all it does is buy us another month

Richardson_Mich13 karma

Don't sell yourself short! CISPA was so toxic last year, no one in the Senate would seriously consider it, and when it came time to write their own legislation, they made substantial privacy changes. Even if we can't necessarily stop the bill on the House floor (which remains to be seen), we can mount a strong privacy-based opposition that will ensure that the bill -and nothing like it-- is sent to the President's desk.

aaa21237 karma

We are talking about H.R.624 correct? and not last years H.R. 3523?

adiEFF5 karma

Correct! We're talking about H.R.624.

asharp455 karma

Which Senators/Congressmen are pushing CISPA the hardest? Are there any efforts to build support for their (non-CISPA loving) opponents?

Richardson_Mich7 karma

Reps Rogers and Ruppersberger are working full time to build support for CISPA. We don't weigh in on elections, but we are working hard to maintain and build opposition in Congress and provoke another veto threat from Obama. You can sign our petition to Obama here: https://www.aclu.org/secure/tell-obama-veto-CISPA

Richardson_Mich5 karma

BTW, Background on major problems in CISPA:

Explainer #1: What information does CISPA allow companies to share? http://www.aclu.org/blog/national-security-technology-and-liberty/cispa-explainer-1-what-information-can-be-shared

Explainer #2: With whom can companies share information?http://www.aclu.org/blog/national-security-technology-and-liberty/cispa-explainer-2-whom-can-information-be-shared

Explainer #3: What can be done with information after it is shared? http://www.aclu.org/blog/national-security-technology-and-liberty/cispa-explainer-3-what-can-be-done-information-after

Explainer #4: Is there anything besides information-sharing hidden in CISPA? http://www.aclu.org/blog/national-security-technology-and-liberty/cispa-explainer-4-there-anything-besides-information

BritishBrownie3 karma

What can someone from outside of the US do to fight against CISPA other than tell people about it?

raineyr9 karma

EFF has a petition that is available for people outside of the United States: https://action.eff.org/o/9042/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=9137 It calls on Obama to veto the bill. Several other organizations are running petitions against the bill that are open to people outside the United States, including Access: https://www.accessnow.org/page/s/protect-our-privacy

You can also raise awareness by blogging and tweeting, or writing articles for your local publications. You can also tweet at directly to members of Congress using the EFF tool: https://cyberspying.eff.org/

lallen113 karma

Given that (1)people overwhelmingly showed no support for the first bill, and (2) assuming that politicians have the people's interest in mind, what reasons are there for supporting a second attempt at a similar bill?

raineyr10 karma

Congress wants to appear as if it’s doing “something” about Internet security. But the truth is that the proposals they’re suggesting don’t address most of the major network security issues. From social engineering to two-step authentication, from the broken CA system to encrypting the web, there are concrete and real issues around network security that can and should be addressed (though a lot of them aren’t legislative solutions). Instead of grappling with these issues, Congress is trying to push an information “sharing” bill that would undermine existing privacy laws.

avaryvox3 karma

Is their anything that one can do to protest the TSA? Because most travelers are being terrorized by the threat of being placed on a no fly list.

xSlappy-2 karma

How can I volunteer for the ACLU? I'm only a high school student though, not a law student.

aclu6 karma

Hey xSlappy, let me get back to you on that. But just so you know, we have affiliates in every state if you want to help out closer to home. And I'm so happy to see the next generation getting involved in protecting the Bill of Rights.

xSlappy-1 karma

Yes, the NYCLU is my local ACLU chapter. I'd love to help out, it's my dream to someday be a lawyer for the ACLU.

aclu2 karma

Definitely reach out to the NYCLU then. Here are some ways you can get involved: http://www.nyclu.org/content/our-advocacy-program

OutsmartBullet2 karma

Do you often make use of data forensics examiners for collection/analysis of data for the EFF's cases in general? Could you make use of (certified) volunteers for this kind of work?

adiEFF3 karma

We can always use help from volunteers! We have a cooperating technologists list that you can subscribe to by emailing [email protected]

pcaharrier2 karma

What are some of the most common excuses given by politicians who support CISPA and what are some questions people could ask or facts they could raise that would put those supporters on the spot?

Richardson_Mich3 karma

Some supporters are sincerely concerned about cybersecurity, and just want to support something. In that case, they should get behind the many different cyber efforts that don't involve government snooping, like securing government systems, training tomorrow's workforce, educating the public, supporting R&D, etc. Really, info sharing is just a small piece of the larger puzzle, it's too bad that it is sucking up all the air.

The other response is to point people towards the Senate bill from last Congress. The folks over there are working on reintroduction. It included much better privacy protections. Info sharing isn't a problem per se, it's about what is shared, with whom, and what they can do with it.

Richardson_Mich3 karma

Let me add one more thought - a lot of politicians are under the mistaken belief that CISPA is a narrowly targeted bill that lets the companies share technical data with each other to fight cyber threats. They are not aware of the sweeping implications of the bill- empowering the military on our internet, sharing personally identifying info, use for non-cyber purposes. Let's educate them about what CISPA really entails.

frankGawd4Eva2 karma

I've signed petitions and sent emails and tweets.. Keep up the good fight!!!!!

aclu4 karma

Thank you for joining the fight, frankGawd4Eva

adiEFF2 karma

Thanks for your support!

ArcticSpyder1 karma

Are you Batman of the Internet?

Richardson_Mich2 karma

Not yet. ETA: But I'll let EFF speak for themselves. I have my suspicions.

TheSarcasmrules1 karma

Where does the money from fundraisers (e.g. Humble Bundles) go, and how does it help towards the free net?

adiEFF2 karma

Funds from memberships and Humble Bundle donations go to "general operating expenses." And most of that part of the budget goes to EFF staff: attorneys who file briefs and fight cases, activists who investigate and develop campaigns around bills like CISPA, and technologists who provide technical research (like around the W3C DRM proposal) create open-source technology (like HTTPS Everywhere).

We're working to update our annual reports, but you can find them here: https://www.eff.org/about/

markto1 karma

If CISPA is passed this time, then what?

Richardson_Mich3 karma

If CISPA passes the House, we move to the Senate to make sure it dies there again this year just like it did last year. The Senate process is still up in the air, but it sounds like it will probably take much longer and be more complicated. It will take continual work to ensure that CISPA (or CiSPA-lite) doesn't surface there throughout the 113th congress.

PositivelyVague1 karma

When friends of mine say that the government needs this "tool" to stop cyber-criminals/terrorists... what's the best, most succinct way to respond (when trying to fight bills like CISPA)?

Thanks for the AMA... keep up the good fight.

Richardson_Mich2 karma

There are a lot of ways to stop cyber-criminals and terrorists without collecting the information of everyday internet users. Even the Obama administration - which endorsed the Patriot Act and FISA - has said that this is a wrongheaded approach and goes too far. CISPA gives the government powers that it neither wants nor needs. This is really about companies, and making sure that no one can hold them accountable in a court of law for sharing your private info or hacking back into other people's networks.

fgvgha1 karma

Where can I find the opinions and voting records of my representatives on cispa?

Richardson_Mich1 karma

Even if your member voted 'no' last time, they will need to hear from you again. The bill sponsors are cooking up amendments - not publicly available yet -- that they will claim address privacy problems in the bill. From press accounts, they do not plan to prevent the NSA and other military agencies from directly collecting American information, nor do they plan on limiting what the companies can turn over in the first place. Still merits opposition.

Joe_122651 karma


adiEFF4 karma

A few of us will pop in from time to time to answer some remaining questions!

Bandek920 karma

Are you having any fun or is it all stressful?

adiEFF5 karma

Sure, fighting these bad bills that seem to get worse and worse is tough. And sure, it's annoying that they keep coming back. And sure, it's painful that those in charge don't seem to understand the Internet.

But I get to work with a team that's brilliant, energetic, and hilarious. It's nice when fighting for your digital rights can be this fun.

adiEFF3 karma

(This comment best consumed while listening to this.)

useuseuse0 karma

Dear eff,

wonder whether there's any difference between the two petition forms: cispaisback.org and your own, action.eff.org/cispa.

Yours seem more detailed, plus the consideration inside vs outside the US. Which is the optimal to link to?

Thank you.

adiEFF3 karma

Our own action sends an email directly to your lawmaker (and there's also an international petition to President Obama getting urging him to veto CISPA). Of course we prefer our own action, but cispaisback.org is run by our awesome friends over at Fight for the Future!