US Republican senator Mike Rogers has found himself at the centre of a geek storm after he dubbed opponents to his controversial cybersecurity bill as teenagers in their basements.
The bipartisan Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act, known as CISPA, aims to defend US industries and corporate networks from cyber-attacks by foreign governments, terrorist groups and other criminals, or so the line goes.
While it might do that rather well, it is clearly a law which is designed for Washington’s big corporate backers rather than ordinary people.
The law will mean that ordinary people will have to hand over shedloads of their personal data to the government. Needless to say Privacy and civil liberties advocates, including the American Civil Liberties Union, have strongly protested.
Showing his unique ability to stand up for voters rather than big corporate and government interests, Rogers moaned that the bill’s opponents were all teenagers living in basements.
People on the internet, who are all 14-year-old tweeters in their basements, don’t understand how important it is, the Huffington Post reports.
“I took my nephew, I had to work with him a lot on this bill because he didn’t understand the mechanics of it,” he moaned.
He patronised everyone by saying that once you understand the threat and you understand the mechanics of how it works and you understand that people are not monitoring the content of your emails, most people ‘got it’.
Sadly for Rogers, not everyone who opposes his bill are teens who don’t understand what is going on.
Most opposition comes from those who feel the law is so broad that it could mean anything. If a government official wanted to violate civil rights using the law, they could, whatever Rogers’ intentions were.
President Barack Obama was another non-teen who objected to the Bill and said that he would veto it in its current form.
The White House was concerned that the bill does not require private entities to take reasonable steps to remove irrelevant personal information when sending cybersecurity data to the government or other private sector entities, the administration said in a statement.
He also felt that US citizens have a right to know that corporations will be held accountable and not granted immunity for failing to safeguard personal information adequately.