Now my friends, this is about something truly evil. Something that violates due process, presumes guilt, provides no recourse and dramatically curtails free speech.
I’m talking about the Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA. Like so much of Washington’s current Orwell-speak, the title of this act deliberately conceals the powers it proposes to create.
In the name of shutting down pirate sites, SOPA would:
1. It would “require Internet providers to monitor customers’ traffic and block Web sites suspected of copyright infringement.”
(See this excellent Cnet.com article: http://news.cnet.com/8301-31921_3-57329001-281/how-sopa-would-affect-you-faq/)
Are you ready for the federal government to monitor all traffic on the Internet?
2. It would function in the same ways, and for the same reasons, as China’s vast censorship:
It allows the U.S. attorney general to seek a court order against the targeted offshore Web site that would, in turn, be served on Internet providers in an effort to make the target virtually disappear. It’s kind of an Internet death penalty. …
section 102 of SOPA says:
“A service provider shall take technically feasible and reasonable measures designed to prevent access by its subscribers located within the United States to the foreign infringing site (or portion thereof) that is subject to the order…Such actions shall be taken as expeditiously as possible, but in any case within five days after being served with a copy of the order, or within such time as the court may order.”
3. It would allow inspection of Internet traffic.
“It would cover IP blocking,” says Markham Erickson, head of NetCoalition, whose members include Amazon.com, Google, eBay, and Yahoo. “I think it contemplates deep packet inspection” as well, he said.
So who’s complaining? Lots of people.
The New York Times calls SOPA the “Great Firewall of America” (and not in a complimentary sense).
Google, Facebook, Twitter, Zynga, eBay, Mozilla, Yahoo, AOL, and LinkedIn say SOPA poses “a serious risk to our industry’s continued track record of innovation and job creation, as well as to our nation’s cybersecurity.”
Yahoo has left the U.S. Chamber of Commerce because of their enthusiastic support for SOPA.
The European Parliament said don’t mess with DNS, in a resolution citing “the need to protect the integrity of the global Internet and freedom of communication by refraining from unilateral measures to revoke IP addresses or domain names.”
David Gewirtz of ZDnet.com wrote an excellent open letter to his congressman, “Dear Congressman Posey, SOPA is both dangerous and un-American” at http://www.zdnet.com/blog/government/dear-congressman-posey-sopa-is-both-dangerous-and-un-american/11031?tag=nl.e620:
Summary: Take action. Otherwise we’re selling the Internet down the river to a couple of lobbying organizations who couldn’t care less about the future of America. …
Take, for example, the provision that allows the domain name system to be mucked with, to prevent domain names from being used by pirates. See, uh, the domain name system is designed to be redundant and self-repairing and just because you nuke a domain name here in the U.S., don’t expect that some pirate in Belarus won’t just route around things. The piracy will still go on.
But then there’s the whole complaint process, where one entity can file a complaint and the entire online payment structure for the alleged pirate can be taken down. There’s no due process in the bill. …
Basically, due process means you can’t go around taking away people’s cash flow, Web sites, and domain names without some level of court oversight. Your bill does away with that, which is very bad lawmaking.
Definitely read the whole article. He points out to Posey that *his own* website could be shut down, without due process or recourse, simply because a political opponent files a SOPA complaint. That would sting, wouldn’t it Congressman?