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Reddit takes official stance against CISPA

The Cyber Intelligence Security Protection Act is intended to help sites like Reddit, but general manager Erik Martin said the bill is far too vague. 


Kevin Collier


Posted on May 4, 2012   Updated on Jun 2, 2021, 5:34 pm CDT

Reddit finally taken an official stance on Cyber Intelligence Security Protection Act (CISPA).

Known for leading the charge against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) earlier this year, the social news site has been uncharacteristically reserved about CISPA, encouraging users but not actively getting involved.

In a blog post published late Friday afternoon, Reddit General Manager Erik Martin noted that CISPA puts the company in a far trickier position than SOPA. While SOPA was designed to severely punish websites that even inadvertently provided pirated material, like Reddit CISPA is supposed make it easier for companies to share information with the government when there’s a security threat. That would ideally make Reddit administrators’ jobs easier.

In the end, however, Martin wrote that doing the right thing by its users is more important to the business in the long run. “Anything that undermines the ability of users to trust that their private information will remain private ultimately affects a company’s bottom line,” he wrote.

To that end, he released an official statement—one that applies to CISPA and the number of relatively similar Cybersecurity bills looming in Congress:

“We are against CISPA and any other cybersecurity bills that don’t precisely define what information can be shared between private companies and the government, how that information can be used, and adequate safeguards to ensure these protections.”

Martin also offered a “montage” of calls to action, which included links to the bills in question, subbreddits worth following, explanatory videos, and contact information for representatives.

For many of the site’s users, it’s a long-overdue position. Fifteen minutes after Martin posted the entry, it had upvotes from hundreds of users and comments from dozens.

“It is nice seing [sic] you come out against CISPA. I would have been disappointed if you hadn’t done anything after doing so much for SOPA,” wrote Atmozfears. “We have to fight against them as hard as we can to protect our internet.”

“We won last time by contacting congressmen, and I’m sure it’ll work again. Get over being a socially awkward penguin and call,” added ozymand1as.

CISPA passed the House in March and currently before the Senate, but doesn’t yet have a vote scheduled.

While Reddit did not mention anything about a potential blackout, Martin promised a comprehensive kit—gathered mostly from redditors’ own content—about how to fight the bill, to be unveiled next week.

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*First Published: May 4, 2012, 6:00 pm CDT