Following up on SOPA and PIPA, a new bill is being released that will decrease online privacy. CISPA (Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act) has been passed through congress in an effort to curb online piracy and to increase cybersecurity. The bill is said to ease the task of the government to investigate cyber threats and ensure the security of networks against cyberattacks. CISPA would both limit what may be posted online freely, as well as allow companies and the government more access to information on social media sites. Anonymous, the hacktivist group, has called for an internet blackout on April 22 to prevent the bill from passing. Unfortunately the House of Representatives has already passed the bill. The concern by groups such as Anonymous is that CISPA would decrease privacy online and allow companies and the government to access personal information. The belief is held that this loss of privacy would let advertisers and companies manipulate their advertisements to your internet use. It is also rumoured that the bill would limit the ability of certain materials to be published online. Unlike the Stop Online Piracy Act and the Protection of Internet Privacy Act, CISPA is aimed toward advertisers and the government.
Personally I believe that the internet needs to remain relatively private. Already people face countless facebook ads as well as easy access to multiple websites. Today we face countless threats to our privacy with the increased usage of social media by all people, even those we don’t want to have our information.
The internet is used by many as a means of connecting to others. This can be socially or creatively. If we limit the ability to post or publicize our information or works, we are also limiting the community power of the internet. If we publicize or consumerize social networking, many internet users may feel watched or insecure. The internet isn’t a place to feel like you are constantly being stalked or used. Many use Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook as a means of escape without the constant threat of being watched or used as a tool. Tumblr, Deviantart, and Instagram are places where artists share their works or thoughts. Countless teenagers use the social networking as a form of both social and creative escape. The freedom of modern social networking has allowed writers, painters, and everyday people a form of escape as well as a place to publish works freely. If CISPA is passed in full, these beautiful sites may be restricted to the very people who seek solace in them.
Blackouts like the one on April 22 or last year over SOPA are important. They prove that a group of distant people are able to unite over a common idea. Simple protests like the ones organized by Anonymous enable multitudes of people to come together and be effective. Author John Green essentially summed up the internet when he said “I love making YouTube videos. I love Tumblr, I love Twitter. I love talking with people I find interesting about stuff I find interesting, and the Internet is a great way to do that.” If we limit our ability to freely use the internet, we hinder creative and social freedom.