Earlier this week the International Game Developers Association (IGDA) issued a statement on CISPA (which we admittedly missed) coming out strongly against the cybersecurity bill passed in the House yesterday afternoon.
Despite the fact the bill has already passed and now the focus is on whatever cybersecurity bill the Senate comes up with, the IGDA's statement is important because it shows that the organization dedicated to game makers around the world understands that any protections game companies might receive from this bill are not worth the costs to the privacy and civil rights of everyday Americans.
Thanks to Daniel Greenberg – Chair of the IGDA's Anti-Censorship and Social Issues Committee – for sending this along to us. You can read the full statement below:
The IGDA urges Congress and President Obama to reject H.R. 624, the 'Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act of 2013' in its present form.
The version of CISPA which just emerged from the House Intelligence Committee does not address the privacy failings in the previous version, which the White House wisely rejected. The bill still retains its dangerously over-broad language, still lacks civilian control, still lacks judicial oversight, and still lacks clear limits on government monitoring of our Internet browsing information. The House should vote against it.
While some companies, including some video game companies, may enjoy short-term liability protection benefits from CISPA, the long term effect would be to harm the privacy of all Americans online. Game developers and the players who are our consumers all suffer when Congress carves out new loopholes in existing privacy laws. We urge the companies supporting CISPA to respect the privacy of their users and to respect their own privacy policies by dropping their support.
This is not a theoretical concern. We would remind Congress of the retroactive immunity they gave telecommunications companies in 2008 after those companies got caught illegally sending customer data to the NSA.
We are encouraged by the White House's statement calling attention to the failings of the current version of CISPA, but we would be more encouraged to see a reiteration of President Obama's previous veto threat.
Protecting our Internet infrastructure is an essential task. But so is protecting our privacy. Congress should not make us choose between the two. Our online privacy is not a game.