If you live in the US and you use the Internet, you need to know about this. There are two proposed laws, SOPA and Protect IP, that would set up a system to block access to websites deemed to be “infringing,” in the name of stopping piracy. Of course, “infringing” could refer to the actions of one user on a large site, like, say, Facebook or Wikipedia. Imagine if someone at Warner Bros. filed a complaint about someone’s fan art on DeviantArt, and the government blocked access to the entire site. Sort of like shutting down an entire mall because one shopper was accused (not even proven!) of wearing a counterfeit Rolex.

Of course, once a system like this is in place, we all know it’ll never be abused, right?

And that’s not even getting into the technical implications of the bills, which would put an extra burden on tech startups and actually undermine efforts by the US government itself to make the internet more secure.

████, the ████ ████ █████ ██████ the ████████ ██████ the US in the ████ of ████████ ██████ (█████ it ██████’t), isn’t ████ yet. In ████, it’s █████ to a ████ ████ ████.

5 thoughts on “Do you want the Internet to be Censored?

  1. I’ve heard this could affect non-Americans too, but I don’t know what any of us can do about it :\ Obviously the US government is less inclined to listen to us. Is there anything we can do?

    • Hard to say. I’m not convinced they’ll listen to *us*, never mind to people who can’t re-elect them.

      Here’s my understanding of how this will affect people outside the US:

      The direct impact is going to be on website operators. They could stand to lose US visitors and customers, or money from US-based ad networks and payment processors, if accused of infringement. (The second biggest problem, IMO, is the standard of proof. Under current law, a hosting provider can actually respond to allegations.)

      Secondary impact is to the users of sites that get blocked. They could lose the ability to communicate with users in the US, and if the site loses enough money from the economic sanctions, the site could shut down. (The stated intent is to take down foreign pirate sites this way. Of course, the criteria are broad enough that it could easily be abused, which IMO is the second-biggest problem. The biggest is that it puts the blocking system in place to begin with.)

      And of course, in the internet era, *everyone* misses out if a new site/service doesn’t even get off the ground, though I suppose in the long run, other countries will pick up the slack.

        • I know the EU has issued a statement against it. I’m sure China and Iran would be all for it, since it would mean we no longer have a leg to stand on when criticizing them for using the same technology to censor the internet within their own borders.

  2. Do you know that just a few years ago our state taxes were in the 7% range?
    Then the state people started advocated 1/2-cent taxes and 1-cent tax hikes to pay for *needed* things like updated and extra sport stadiums and “for the children!” programs that had scat to do with kids, and “improved freeways!” (yeah.) Enough of the people who had a stake in pushing that crap through voted and enough other people were idiots who fell for the lines, and even more were dumb enough to not even to bother to vote: upshot, because of a small turnout of voters we now have sales taxes closing fast on 10%, a nigh-useless to all but the drug traffikers “rail” (ha!) system (more like a short one line trolley) and the state is in the red big time.

    I see this censorship thing as the same line. “For the children!” is really about some special interests who will somehow gain big bucks by infringing on something that would be better policed on a local level by the site providers. Once in place, the internet will never be the same. EVER. It’s a thousand times harder to get government to release it’s power than it is to give them extra license.

    Am I against government? Heck no! I pay my taxes in the hopes that some of it will go to protecting our borders and keeping interstate commerce running. We’d be F’ed if there was anarchy in the streets.

    But the love of money begets a love for power and its addictive. Some people just can’t say no to more. Some others are too ignorant or tired to realize they should say no.

    We’ve made the internet nearly impossible to live without. Big surprise the power mongers smelled a feast and are now after it like hungry hyenas.

    Sometimes I think I’ve lived too long.

    (Former Star Trek vision-of-a-bright-future dreamer whom the politicians made grow up too fast.)

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