New Castle News

April 23, 2013

Demonstrators oppose Internet information act

Debbie Wachter
New Castle News

NEW CASTLE — Demonstrators last night on Kennedy Square opposed a bill that would allow Internet information sharing.

Some of them wore masks. Others wore sunglasses and most asked for anonymity. Most of them are from New Castle and organized themselves for the cause via social media.

The protest took place last evening when traffic was sparse and most downtown business people had gone home for the evening.

Lou Regna Jr. wore a mask and carried a sign saying, “No Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act.”

“A group of local concerned people were out on the Internet and united for the same cause,” he said while standing along Route 18 at Kennedy Square. “It’s in support of anonymity.”

About 10 protesters lined the street with their signs.

According to Regna, the effort is against a proposed federal bill — the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act — that has passed in the U.S. House of Representatives but not in the Senate.

The act would allow for sharing of Internet traffic information between the U.S. government and technology and manufacturing companies, according to a summation on Wikipedia. The bill’s goal is to help the government investigate cyber threats and ensure security of networks against cyberattacks, according to the online encyclopedia.

But Regna said he and his allies see it as a threat to their privacy.

Others have seen it as an undermining of the Fourth Amendment of the Constitution.

The bill is to go the Senate for another vote, and before that happens, the citizens would like to see it stopped.

They have signed petitions and contacted their senators via email, they said, to get them to vote against it.

“The bill is so loosely written, there are countless things they will impact,” Regna said. “There will be full monitoring of all aspects of the Internet, including Facebook, comments written and emails.

 “It’s SOPA remade, the Stop Online Piracy Act,” he said.

Opponents to the bill have participated in “blackouts” on the Internet by not signing on, he said, and one of those was yesterday, he said.

“The most dangerous thing is that they will be able to censor things from the Internet that they feel you shouldn’t know,” he said, adding that Internet users won’t be able to get certain information from other countries and that the government can monitor what’s going on in other countries.

“That’s not America’s job,” he contends.

“We’re trying to raise the awareness of this so it gets vetoed.”