The cofounder of the popular social news site Reddit has called on the leaders of Google, Facebook and Twitter to help defeat a controversial cybersecurity bill that would compromise the privacy of their users if passed by lawmakers.
“I’m hoping that all of these tech companies take the stand that their privacy policies matter, their users’ privacy matters, and no legislation like CISPA should take that away,” Alexis Ohanian, former owner of Reddit (Wired’s parent company Conde Nast currently owns Reddit), said in a video posted yesterday. ”If someone wants access to our private home or to our mail we would say, Well go get a warrant. Right? CISPA basically says, uh, not necessary. Your digital privacy is irrelevant.”
The video shows Ohanian trying to call Google CEO Larry Page to urge him to oppose the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA). But when he reaches the company — through the switchboard — the operator tells him that no one by that name works at Google.
“I am pretty sure there’s a Larry Page at Google,” he replies.
Ohanian, who is on the steering committee for the Internet Defense League and is very active in the fight to preserve internet freedom, also called on the public to sign a petition to defeat CISPA in the way users helped defeat the Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect Intellectual Propert Act in 2011.
“Since we couldn’t get in touch with the deciders, maybe you can,” he says. “Sign the petition, get on the social media, because this is what defeated SOPA and PIPA and this is what will defeat CISPA and this is what will defeat whatever they throw at us. Internet freedom, internet privacy matters.”
The bill opens the way for government agencies and the private sector to share information about cyberattack threats, but critics say it lacks protections to preserve the privacy of users and gives companies immunity for repercussions that might come as a result of sharing information.
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