US Voters To Decide The Future Of The Internet
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Starting with November, US voters have the most important task yet – that of deciding which officials are to handle (from now on) internet legislation. To stress the importance of the incoming elections, a coalition of internet rights groups started a “voter registration drive” throughout US soil. Here are the details.
To avoid legislations like SOPA, CISPA, etc. to see the light of the day, InternetVotes.org has opened a website where people can fill out on a form and express their opinion on how the Internet, as a whole, is being handled by governmental officials. Also, you can use the website’s widget to promote the cause.
“We changed the world in 2012 when we fought off internet censorship. Now, we can defend the internet and change politics forever,” reads the “motto” of the portal.
Starting with November the 7th, U.S. citizens can decide who is going to be in charge with internet’s freedom, a dire responsibility that will not be ignored, especially if we remember that it was a close call for everyone in Europe and beyond when SOPA surfaced. But thanks to worldwide protests, both on and off line, the Stop Online Piracy Act was put to its tomb. Good ridden, we say!
However, this didn’t stop the House of Representatives. In June they passed CISPA, an even worse version of SOPA that aimed to handle cybersecurity matters, whatever that means. That didn’t go well either, but, again, that did not stop the House of Representatives from trying again.
Just some weeks ago, the House voted for a five-year extension for the FISA Amendments ACT. You can read all about it here. Despite protests and irrefutable evidence that the legislation is a threat to privacy, officials continuously refused to revise the law.
The examples can continue. A CNET report shows that the Federal Bureau of Investigation is planning a way to spy on the internet, on a larger scale. Their goal is to include big companies like Google, Facebook, and Skype into their scheme, so that the bureau can have unlimited access to internet communications of all kinds.
The question is, what can the Congress do? Here are some suggestions as seen of EFF’s official webpage:
Patent reform: A new bill sponsored by Rep. DeFazio would fix much of the broken patent system that is engulfing giant tech companies in billion dollar patent suits and paralyzing up-and-coming companies with legal costs. The only parties benefiting from software patent wars seem to be big law firms and patent trolls. Visit EFF’s site defendinnovation.org for more.
Email privacy: Both the House and Senate have ECPA reform bills that would finally bring warrant protection to emails. We saw just last week that the Senate delayed this bill yet again after law enforcement expressed concerns it would hinder their investigations. Of course, this bill wouldn’t create any new rights; it would just bring the protections for our email into alignment with our rights with physical mail and phone calls.
Cell phone privacy: The GPS Act in the Senate and a corresponding bill in the House would force law enforcement to get a warrant for our cell phone location data as well. Your cell phone, which pings a cell phone tower every seven seconds, is one of the most privacy invasive tools out there; it can give your precise location to authorities twenty-four hours a day. And law enforcement made a staggering 1.3 million requests for such data last year—a vast majority of the time without a warrant.
Vote and keep the internet free of private interests!