Ted Cruz disappointed advocates of internet freedom on Thursday, voting for the Cybersecurity Information Sharing Act (CISA), a bill that incentivizes businesses to turn over third party records to both the government and other businesses for purposes of “cyber security”. Civil liberties advocates such as the ACLU, Rand Paul and a slew of major tech companies such as Google and Apple have come out against CISA, arguing that it essentially amounts to government surveillance. Though no explanation has come from Cruz’s office, it is a vote that is likely to stun many of his supporters.This is contrary to Cruz’s stated support of internet freedom, having campaigned on the issue both very recently and extensively throughout the primary season.
Perhaps the most shocking thing, however, is a video from an October 15th Iowa town hall meeting where Cruz states that he has not studied the CISA bill. The video brings into serious question whether Cruz read the bill before he voted for it on Thursday. This meeting was just one week before the vote, and Cruz’s campaign schedule shows that he spent most of the rest of the week and weekend campaigning. There was very little time for him to do any significant study of a bill that is so large.
In fairness to the senator, it is theoretically possible that in the four days he was not campaigning between this town hall event and the actual vote he got himself up to speed on this issue. It was a large bill with over 120 amendments, however, which makes that much less likely. That being said, isn’t the fact that he had admittedly not studied this a serious red flag?
This vote puts Cruz’s outreach to liberty voters in serious doubt, with internet freedom having been a major issue for liberty voters for a long time. Cruz’s discussions with libertarians throughout this campaign have created the distinct impression of a pro internet freedom candidate, and by voting for CISA he has rejected that stance. It certainly appears that Ted Cruz voted to curtail our internet freedom without reading the bill, and he owes liberty lovers across this country an explanation.