The End of Internet Privacy

If you do anything online, this issue needs your immediate attention.

Right now, the US is poised to pass a new law that would permit US intelligence services to spy on almost everything we do online. It’s called the ‘Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act‘.

This may be a US law, but it effects everyone else, because companies that we trust with our personal information, like Facebook and Microsoft, are key supporters of this bill that lets corporations share all user activity and content – ie. information about us – with US government agents without needing a warrant in the name of cyber-security — nullifying privacy guarantees for almost everyone around the world, no matter where we live and surf online.

This is genuinely disturbing stuff. Here’s what Wired.com‘s James Bramford (and quoted by Forbes magazine) has to say about what we can expect from the National Security Agency’s newest and biggest surveillance complex, innocuously named the Utah Data Center. This is real, not science fiction:

“Flowing through its servers and routers and stored in near-bottomless databases will be all forms of communication, including the complete contents of private emails, cell phone calls, and Google searches, as well as all sorts of personal data trails—parking receipts, travel itineraries, bookstore purchases, and other digital “pocket litter.” It is, in some measure, the realization of the “total information awareness” program created during the first term of the Bush administration—an effort that was killed by Congress in 2003 after it caused an outcry over its potential for invading Americans’ privacy.”

But this kind of thing starts with laws like the CISPA, which surrender our privacy to big business and big government.

If enough of us speak out, we can stop companies that profit from our business from supporting cyber-spying. Please sign the Avaaz petition to keep these companies from handing over our private information to others. Here’s the statement you’d be signing:

‘To Facebook, Microsoft and IBM:

‘As concerned customers from around the world, we urge you to immediately drop your support for the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA). Our democracy and civil liberties are under threat from the excessive and unnecessary Internet surveillance powers it grants to the US government. The Internet is a crucial tool for people around the world to exchange ideas and work collectively to build the world we all want. We urge you to show true global leadership and do all you can to protect our Internet freedom.’

This is incredibly important, and once this power over your information is handed over to people in another country, who can’t be held responsible, we will never get this privacy back. It is a level and depth of surveillance that the most controlling totalitarian states would dream of having. At the time of posting, there were already over 760,000 signatures on the petition protesting against this, and Avaaz hope to reach a million. Please sign the petition now.

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