This Simple Tool Tells You Where Your Representatives Stand on Government Spying

Source: AP
Source: AP

This week, an age-old legislative monster is rearing its head once again: CISA, the surveillance bill that just won't die. 

CISA stands for the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act. It allows corporations to seek immunity from virtually any prosecution as long as they cooperate with government surveillance by turning over massive amounts of consumer data. The American Civil Liberties Union calls it the "Patriot Act 2.0." 

The National Security Agency and members of Congress have used high-profile breaches, like the hack of the Office of Personnel Management or the cyberattack on Sony Entertainment, to bring the bill back into consideration after it had been largely shamed out of existence by privacy activists.

"Congress takes notice when people get upset and their phones start melting."

In response, the activist group Fight for the Future — the same group that used an Internet blackout to protest and kill SOPA — has built a tool to tell you on which side of the issue your representative stands, and help you get in touch with him or her before the bill potentially comes up for a vote.

The site has a pull-down menu where you can choose your state, find your local representative and find a letter grade (A+ to F) on how each candidate has previously voted on Internet surveillance issues, dividing them into two camps: Team Internet and Team Surveillance.

For example, here's Ohio:

And New York:

Clicking on a representative's information brings up his or her voting record:

"We wanted to put these congressmen on the record about where they stand so they can't hide anymore, because people are hungry for information about how their representatives stand on these issues," FFTF campaign director Evan Greer told Mic. "Congress is beholden to a lot of interests that aren't their constituents. But they take notice when people get upset and their phones start melting."

Why activists are fighting back: CISA asks Americans to trade our personal security for the promise of safety. "CISA doesn't even address the root issue of our cybersecurity problems," Greer said. "Every expert agrees that information sharing wouldn't prevent the OPM hack or the Sony hack. And in the process of not fixing those problems, it opens massive loopholes that allows of sweeping surveillance of innocent people."

How likely are you to make Mic your go-to news source?

Jack Smith IV

Jack Smith IV is a senior writer covering technology and inequality. Send tips, comments and feedback to jack@mic.com.

MORE FROM

Grizzly bear protections in Yellowstone National park are ending

A final ruling by US government officials will strike the Yellowstone grizzly bear from the list of threatened species after its population increased to 700.

Another day, another off-camera White House press briefing

The move to scale back on-camera press briefings comes amid Trump's increasing unwillingness to interact with the press.

Minneapolis might get a $15 minimum wage, but restaurant workers aren't celebrating

Discord has been brewing in Minneapolis over whether tipped work will be counted toward a $15 minimum wage.

These abysmal new poll numbers for House health care bill don't bode well for Senate version

Only 34% of Republicans approve of the new proposed law.

'Pizzagate' shooter gets 4-year prison sentence, lawyers urged judge to deter vigilantism

Welch stormed a Washington, D.C., pizza place and shot off a firearm because of the internet.

American Health Care Act by the numbers: What to know about Senate Republicans' secret health plan

After drafting the ACA repeal and replace plan behind closed doors, the AHCA is out — and Senate Republican leaders are hoping to vote on it in a week.

Grizzly bear protections in Yellowstone National park are ending

A final ruling by US government officials will strike the Yellowstone grizzly bear from the list of threatened species after its population increased to 700.

Another day, another off-camera White House press briefing

The move to scale back on-camera press briefings comes amid Trump's increasing unwillingness to interact with the press.

Minneapolis might get a $15 minimum wage, but restaurant workers aren't celebrating

Discord has been brewing in Minneapolis over whether tipped work will be counted toward a $15 minimum wage.

These abysmal new poll numbers for House health care bill don't bode well for Senate version

Only 34% of Republicans approve of the new proposed law.

'Pizzagate' shooter gets 4-year prison sentence, lawyers urged judge to deter vigilantism

Welch stormed a Washington, D.C., pizza place and shot off a firearm because of the internet.

American Health Care Act by the numbers: What to know about Senate Republicans' secret health plan

After drafting the ACA repeal and replace plan behind closed doors, the AHCA is out — and Senate Republican leaders are hoping to vote on it in a week.