When the Stop Online Piracy Act was ready to make its way through Congress in January, tech companies such as Google, Facebook, Twitter and Wikipedia spoke out against it, with some sites shutting down or running online protest campaigns. Three months later, when Congress again decided to try to regulate the Internet, the outcry surrounding the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act seemed like a whisper compared to SOPA's shouts.
Tuesday, Mozilla became the first tech company to speak up alongside CISPA opponents, which are mostly comprised of civil rights organizations and individual Internet users. No tech company has come out against the bill, with many, including Facebook, endorsing the legislation. The House of Representatives passed the bill last week.
[Debate Club: Should Congress Have Passed CISPA?]
A Mozilla official told Forbes that "CISPA has a broad and alarming reach that goes far beyond Internet security. The bill infringes on our privacy, includes vague definitions of cybersecurity, and grants immunities to companies and government that are too broad around information misuse."
The move is important because the bill allows the government to share important classified cybersecurity information with tech companies. Although civil liberties organizations argue the bill infringes on users' personal privacy, companies support the bill because it will presumably make fighting domestic and foreign hackers easier and cheaper. Mozilla, too, would theoretically benefit from the bill's passage in the Senate.
But Mozilla is also known for being ahead of the curve, introducing many security features and keeping its popular Firefox browser open source so users could detect and patch security vulnerabilities on their own. With CISPA, it seems as if the company is also looking out for its users.
"We hope the Senate takes the time to fully and openly consider these issues with stakeholder input before moving forward with this legislation," the company said.
Jason Koebler is a science and technology reporter for U.S. News & World Report. You can follow him on Twitter or reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org