LI Activists sent thousands of e-mails, calls.
The Fourth Amendment to the Constitution, which has for 222 years promised that “the right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
That’s an old commitment that members of Congress swear an oath to uphold.
But members of the House on the right and the left have concluded—correctly—that it applies to the most modern of technologies.
Amash and Ellison, Rohrabacher and Grayson, Sensenbrenner and Conyers were among the 127 members of the House (ninety-eight Democrats and twenty-nine Republicans) who last week voted against the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act.
Described by the Electronic Frontier Foundation as “Digital Big Brother,” CISPA is a sweeping proposal to bypass existing privacy law to enable corporations to spy on personal communications and to pass sensitive user data to the government.
“CISPA is a poorly drafted bill that would provide a gaping exception to bedrock privacy law,” says EFF Senior Staff Attorney Kurt Opsahl. “While we all agree that our nation needs to address pressing Internet security issues, this bill sacrifices online privacy while failing to take common-sense steps to improve security.”
It is this disregard for the Fourth Amendment that united Democrats and Republicans, progressives and libertarians in opposition to the measure. In the face of a 38-1 lobbying advantage for corporate proponents of the legislation (who spent an estimated $84 milion to influence Congress), key members of the House on both sides of the aisle rejected the spin and focused on the objections raised by civil libertarians and grassroots privacy activists.