CISPA Sponsor Claims Opposition Is '14 Year Olds In Their Basement'
from the taking-the-high-road? dept
The House Committee on Rules has been debating CISPA and what will be covered in the official floor debate and what amendments will be presented tomorrow or the next day (whenever it hits the floor). Much of it was routine stuff, but there were some typical bogus grandstanding about the giant threat of a cyberattack that’s going to kill us all (be afraid!) if we don’t do something (no worry about if that something will actually help). Representative Mike Rogers, the sponsor of CISPA and its main backer, decided that he was going to take the lowest road possible in talking about the concerns of privacy advocates by saying that the only opposition is “14-year-olds in their basement.” That statement followed the claim that “Silicon Valley CEOs support CISPA.”
Update: Sina Khanifer has uploaded a video of Rogers making these comments.
This is insulting on a whole variety of levels. First of all, it suggests that privacy advocates are nothing more than children. That’s ridiculous. The White House, who have raised privacy concerns about the bill, are 14-year-olds in their basement? Rogers honestly thinks insulting the President is the way to get CISPA passed? The ACLU are 14-year-olds in their basement? Really? The tens of thousands of people who have contacted Congress in the past few weeks about this are all 14-year-olds in their basement? Rogers owes the public he represents a massive apology.
Second, the comment about Silicon Valley CEOs is not true. Yes, there are some tech companies who are in favor of CISPA, mainly because of the liability protections they would get. But it is hardly an across the board belief. Many, many tech companies are all quite concerned about CISPA and what it will mean for the privacy of their users. Both Mozilla and Reddit have strongly spoken out against CISPA. Do they not count?
Third, the idea that because some Silicon Valley CEOs support CISPA, it means that there couldn’t possibly be any concern. This is a outgrowth of the myth that SOPA was only stopped because tech companies spoke out. As such, politicians like Rogers think all they need to do is appease tech CEOs, and not the public, whom they’re supposed to represent. That Rogers would so outwardly admit that as long as a small group of tech CEOs favor the bill (which is already a highly questionable statement), that he can ignore the public and insult them, is really stunning.
Of course, what this really shows is Rep. Mike Rogers’ absolute disdain for privacy. He doesn’t take the concerns of the public, of privacy advocates, and even of the White House seriously. Instead, he sees privacy as something that should be mocked and those who support it insulted. Why should such a person be in charge of wiping out privacy laws on the internet?