Let Your Senator Know Right Now That You Are Watching If They'll Vote To Protect Privacy
from the speak-up dept
On Friday, we mentioned that this week is the week in which the Senate will wrangle over the new Cybersecurity bill. The current bill has some privacy safeguards, but not nearly enough. Senators Al Franken and Rand Paul have put together an amendment to strengthen the privacy safeguards even more — and over the weekend, Senator Chuck Schumer agreed to co-sponsor the Franken/Paul amendment after talking to various folks in the tech industry and the civil liberties community. That adds more weight to the amendment. Unfortunately, Senators John McCain and Kay Bailey Huchison and a few others, who have been carrying water for the NSA throughout this fight, are looking to move the bill very far in the other direction, wiping out tons of privacy protections. It’s really shameful.
Either way, this is the week to let your Senator know how you feel about all of this (and if you’re a constituent of McCain or Huchison, please ask why they’re so against protecting the privacy of the American public). The American Library Association has kindly set up a simple one-click tool to call your Senator and let them know how you feel.
The EFF has a page with some more info as well, noting that it’s basically too late to email your Senators, so please call. If you want some more info, check out Fred Wilson’s analysis of the situation, which matches almost exactly with mine. We still have not been given a compelling reason why any such legislation is needed. We keep hearing scare stories about mushroom clouds and planes falling from the sky if information can’t be shared. But… what no one has done yet is explain which existing regulations block the necessary sharing of information. If they did that, we could look at fixing those laws. Instead, we’re just told scare stories and given a massive 211-page bill that wipes out all sorts of previous laws, and adds all sorts of other things to the law. Given the length of the bill, it’s quite likely there are some awful “easter eggs” in there that we’ll only discover years down the road.
That said, if the bill is going to pass, it would be much better if it had very strong privacy protections in it, and the Franken/Paul amendment go a long way towards putting such protections in. The McCain/Huchison proposal do the opposite, and basically seek to take away privacy protections, while giving the NSA much more ability to access your data. Don’t let the Senate trample your privacy rights. Go ahead and use the ALA’s tool to contact your Senator today.