April 22 has been dubbed “Internet Blackout Day” by Anonymous. It has asked that many website owners blackout their websites on April 22 at 6:00AM GMT in protest against CISPA, SlashGear reports.
The protest will last for 24 hours, and will show the government the “unity and power of the internet they’re trying to exploit.” Along with making their websites go dark, website owners are asked to display a message on their site as to why they’re participating.
CISPA, the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, was passed by the House on April 18 with a majority vote of 288 to 127. The bill will allow corporations to share their users’ personal information with the government without the government needing a warrant beforehand. The bill will kill any privacy contracts that companies have with their users, the same contracts that ensure users that they will not share their personal information with anyone.
Currently, the White House is concerned over CISPA, and may veto it because it invades the privacy of internet users. In a statement that it issued last week, it stated that even with its new amendments, CISPA, “does not require private entities to take reasonable steps to remove irrelevant personal information when sending cybersecurity data to the government or other private sector entities. We have long said that information sharing improvements are essential to effective legislation, but they must include proper privacy and civil liberties protections, reinforce the appropriate roles of civilian and intelligence agencies, and include targeted liability protections.”
In order to encourage the White House to veto the bill, Anonymous, and the vast majority of the internet, will participate in the blackout to show their unified opposition against it. There were several petitions made that were signed by over 1.5 million users, however, it still wasn’t enough to get Congress to change their minds, or take the public’s opinion seriously.
Senator Mike Rogers, Representative of Michigan, stated that many of those against CISPA were just “teenagers in their basements”, and that many powerful internet entities, like Google, Microsoft, and Yahoo, are in support of the bill.
He says, “The very companies that you say are uncomfortable with this support this bill. The people who are in the business of prosperity on the Internet think this is the right approach.”
With the blackout, Anonymous hopes that President Obama will see how strongly opposed the vast majority of the internet is against the bill, and hopes that he will be convinced to veto it. This internet blackout will be similar to the blackout that occurred last year in opposition of SOPA (Stop Online Privacy Act) and PIPA (Protect IP Act), which garnered support from over 7,000 sites.