Facebook Incorporated is once again facing criticism from internet freedom and privacy advocates, this time for deception on their lobbying activities related to the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA). CISA is the latest iteration of a long legislative effort by the government and various corporate interests to destroy legal privacy protections for internet users.
Previous versions of CISA such as SOPA and PIPA were ultimately defeated in Congress after public outrage and opposition from an alliance of powerful tech firms scared politicians off.
According to Fight For The Future, though the multi-billion dollar social networking site claims publicly to oppose it, Facebook is working behind the scenes to get CISA passed. In other words, Facebook is doing some things in private it does not want everyone to know about.
The value of CISA to Facebook, as Fight For The Future notes, is that the current version of the bill gives legal immunity to companies such as Facebook for violating privacy laws as long as the company shares information with the government. A get out of jail and civil lawsuit free card for a company constantly dealing with legal issues for its privacy practices.
Under CISA, as long as Facebook cuts the government in on the action it can violate user privacy and face no accountability for it, at least in the US. So it would not be a surprise if the company was trying to see CISA enacted, Facebook has a direct interest in getting the legal immunity contained in the bill.
The national security state’s interest in CISA is not hard to decipher, either. If CISA becomes law, much of the domestic spying performed by the NSA and other agencies has stronger legal ground to stand on. CISA also facilitates increased collaboration between private companies with the legal immunity provision that will allow companies like Facebook, Verizon, Google, and AT&T to violate their users privacy without having to worry about legal consequences.
With no check from the users, those companies will primarily face trouble from the government for not complying with secret orders. CISA could be a fatal blow to what remains of privacy rights online.
Fight For The Future has launched a petition to ask Facebook to “come clean” on their CISA lobbying.