Is CISPA Really in the Internet’s Best Interest?

Congressional lawmakers, who first attempted to curb Internet piracy with the highly unpopular SOPA or Stop Online Piracy Act, have revived and revamped the legislation in the form of CISPA (the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act). Where SOPA prevented advertisers from doing business with websites who infringed on the law and required Internet service providers, or ISPs, to block access to those websites, CISPA allows these websites to instead share this information with the US Government and are thusly granted immunity. Those who previously opposed the passing of SOPA are calling this new legislative measure, “SOPA 2.0”, as it is merely a restructuring of the previous law, with the provisions that detail the government’s true reach lifted, ultimately “undermining privacy and civil liberties.”
CISPA opinion
The US House of Representatives passed the measure in a 236-185 vote on April 23rd, much to the dismay of the internet and have taken to Twitter to voice their outrage. After Crimson Hexagon analyzed the CISPA-driven conversation of 254,000 online opinions, our social analysis extracted a few key insights.
At 60%, the conversation as overwhelmingly negative:

  • 18% of the conversation noted similarities to previous legislation (SOPA et al); 18% detested the fact that CISPA would create unregulated government surveillance and threaten Internet privacy.
  • 14% is general negative conversation, including disgust with Congress and the federal government prioritization as opposed to other issues in the US.
  • The remaining 10% of the conversation sought the immediate voting down of the legislation citing its implications for free speech and activity online.

Neutral conversation comprised the remainder:

  • 18% were spreading the news of CISPA’s existence, as well as comparisons to its predecessors SOPA and PIPA.
  • 12% highlighted President Obama’s vow to veto the legislation if it arrives on his desk in its current form.
  • And 10% were perplexed by Facebook’s, as well as other companies’, support of CISPA after they opposed SOPA/PIPA.

The current topics of conversation on CISPA are similar to the conversation surrounding SOPA/PIPA, in that the topics of discussion about CISPA were observed in a previous social media analysis conducted by Crimson Hexagon in the heat of the SOPA discussions.
During their respective zeitgeists, SOPA received exponentially more conversation than CISPA has been experiencing over the same period. Additionally, the proportional breakdown these categories from CISPA to SOPA have changed dramatically.
CISPA sentiment
The shift in conversation reflects the overall sentiment differences between the two pieces of legislation. Where 36% of SOPA’s conversation were calls to action; championing to kill the bill, 38% of the conversation is merely discussing CISPA and its implications, where only 23% of CISPA protesters are calling for the bill’s death.
So what does this all mean? The analytics themselves seem to indicate that the Internet has grown tired of fighting. Although a hefty majority are discussing CISPA, there seems to be little to no conversion to actual action. Those who fought against SOPA had a common ally in web entities such as Facebook, Microsoft, Google and Wikipedia, yet those who oppose CISPA are more or less left to their own devices as the legislation removes all accountability from the websites themselves and focuses it squarely on the user.
What side of the fence are you on? Do you find CISPA to be so morally reprehensible that it needs to be stopped or are you in favor of the legislation as it currently stands to curb internet piracy allowing for the protection of copyrighted content? Or are you somewhere in the middle, seeing the opportunity for CISPA to do good, but needing to be restructured to protect the true interests of the Internet? Be sure to tweet @crimsonhexagon and share your thoughts.
As always, we’ll continue analyzing the space for interesting trends. In the meantime, feel free to contact us at with questions or to learn how your market, brand or product could benefit from leveraging the Crimson Hexagon ForSight™ platform for social media monitoring and analysis. Want to see the Crimson Hexagon platform in action? Request a Live Online Demo.

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