Monday, January 30, 2012

SOPA and PIPA – The Latest Attempts by Congress to Curb Our Freedoms

by Mark A. Cohen - Over 175 of his blog posts can be read at fromthelefttotheright[dot]blogspot[dot]com



There must be better ways to stop people from stealing proprietary content on the Internet than the SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect IP Act) bills. These legislative nightmares seek to close down sites on the web and criminalize innocent people. This move toward more censorship originates with the entertainment industry's belief that penalizing potential customers will maximize their profits. I don’t agree with this strategy, but the concept of stopping online piracy sounds reasonable - until you realize that these laws also restrict Internet providers and search engines alike. They assure that criminals will be made of people who are not responsible for web site content today. With an iron fist, and backed by tough penalties, they'll hurt everyone along the way.



Non-technical reasons for opposition include the free speech argument, and further expansion of governmental authority. Search providers could be held responsible for the content of web sites, over which they have no control. Libraries might find themselves accused of criminal acts, and the flow of information and innovation would be slowed to a crawl. The process for blocking web sites recommended by the legislation sounds a lot like Big Brother, right out of George Orwell’s 1984, and the political implications stand out. With the slippery slope tilted downward, the door wide open to shut down sites we don’t like, eventually anyone will have the free reign to shut down any site for objectionable content.



Technical reasons to oppose this insanity include the destruction of the world-wide DNS (Domain Name Service) model. Currently all DNS servers theoretically contain the same data. With the passage of this bill, the U.S., like Communist China, would have the right to restrict the content of the DNS servers within it, causing a difference in content. This ruins the DNS model, and inhibits freedom. The bill will no doubt create a whirlwind; a senseless waste of activity. An unnecessary rebel online community will emerge, where users will create applications and/or lists of the restricted web sites’ IP addresses, which could be reached anyway, despite the new law. I salute Wikipedia and Google for their protests last week. I oppose anything that restricts freedom. Keep the Internet free and open!



Just see the star-studded list of Congressmen who created and support these freedom-killing bills, Republicans and Democrats alike. Please vote them out, they know not what they do.




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Keywords: Conservatism, Conservative blog, Mark A. Cohen, From The Left to the Right, SOPA, PIPA, Freedom of Speech, Protect IP Act, Stop Online Piracy Act



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