Facebook Accused of Secretly Backing Controversial CISA bill

Privacy group says Facebook quietly supporting CISA

The whole world is watching with bated breath as the US congress debates on the new Cyber Information Sharing Act (CISA). CISA, which is sponsored by North Carolina Republican Richard Burr, will be bringing a whole new mechanism for cyber security.

Facebook is seen to be opposing CISA though it has not yet gone on record either for or against it.  But a digital privacy group Fight for the Future says that Facebook has been quietly supporting it, crediting several anonymous sources on Capitol Hill.

“Sources on the Hill tell us that Facebook lobbyists are welcoming CISA behind closed doors,” Fight for the Future co-founder Tiffiniy Cheng wrote in a Saturday blog post.

Jeff Lyon, CTO of Fight for the Future made a a Reddit post denouncing Facebook for its two faced stand on CISA,  “Multiple sources on the hill have reported that Facebook is THE tech company lobbying in favor of CISA, several offices have heard from Facebook that they support CISA.”

A Facebook spokeperson told SCMagazine in a Monday email the company has “not been advocating privately or publicly for CISA.” The spokesperson questioned the report’s validity, while confirming Facebook has not issued a public statement for or against CISA.

Facebook belongs to the Computer and Communications Industry Association (CCIA), a trade association that opposes CISA. But “CCIA does not speak for us on this issue,” the Facebook spokesperson noted. “We are not taking a position on the bill.”

Edward Snowden tweeted about the report Sunday, calling Facebook “shameful.”

Despite all the efforts, the CISA looks to be sailing through the senate. The Senate voted 83–14 to end debates on the amendments for CISA last Thursday, and is scheduled for a final vote today, where it is expected to pass.

The proposed law puts DHS in charge of these new data collection powers. But it also gives Homeland Security the power to share that data with “any Federal agency or department, component, officer, employee, or agent of the Federal Government.” That could include law enforcement bodies like the FBI and ATF, intelligence agencies like the CIA and NSA, or even the U.S. Department of Agriculture if DHS thought it necessary. It could even include private contractors hired by federal agencies.

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