Opponents of the controversial Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act of 2013 (CISPA) are challenging sponsor Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI) to debate a 14-year-old about the merits of the proposal. The site, TheMikeRogersChallenge.com, was recently launched by Fight for the Future in response to Rogers’ claim that opponents of CISPA are 14-year-old “tweeters” in their basements.
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The site claims it is “confident that even a 14-year-old in a basement could demolish Rogers’ weak arguments for CISPA” and is also seeking an appropriate teen challenger, who must be prepared to send videos of themselves explaining CISPA and pictures of their basement as part of the application process. Fight for the Future also launched the CispaIsBack.org petition shortly after the proposal was reintroduced this year.
In March, Rep. Rogers accidentally tweeted and deleted a link to a story about how Members of the House Intelligence Committee, which Rogers chairs, “received 15 times more from pro-CISPA groups than anti-CISPA orgs.” He also used #CISPAalert in a series of pro-CISPA tweets, apparently unaware that the hashtag was set up by the Electronic Frontier Foundation and helps fund the fight against CISPA. Data released by MapLight yesterday shows House Members as a whole “have received 16 times as much money ($67,665,694) from interests supporting CISPA than from interests opposing ($4,164,596).”
CISPA is aimed at creating a functional information sharing structure for cyber threat intelligence, but civil liberties organizations, the White House, and a number of security experts and academics believe the privacy protections and regulatory definitions are seriously flawed. The bill passed the House yesterday, but is facing a presidential veto threat similar to the one that killed a 2012 proposal of the same name.
While civil liberties groups have presented a number of fixes for areas of critical concern in the legislation, amendments to resolve privacy issues were largely unsuccessful in the closed House Intelligence committee hearing and opponents remain unimpressed by the version that passed the House. Rep. Mike McCaul (R-TX) invoked the tragic bombings in Boston during the House debate over CISPA amendments yesterday, claiming that the legislation needed to be rushed through “in the name” of Boston because cyber attacks represented “digital bombs […] bombs are on their way.”