Some government mistakes slip by with only a few of us shouting about them. The Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA, is not one of those. People across the Internet are getting loud against the House bill and its Senate counterpart PROTECT IP, the one I’ve been yelling about for months, but many businesses are supporting.
Yes, I’m going to be that guy, saying I was into the band before you ever heard of him. But, instead of being disappointed that the band’s gone mainstream, I’m glad we’re now at the point where Darrell Issa is changing his Twitter avatar in protest of the bill.
The bill has serious problems. As I previously warned it tampers with the delicate balance of interests present in the DMCA, but on top of that Title I is nothing but a framework for censorship in America that can and is designed to be triggered not through judicial trials, but through mere injunctions. And further, if an ISP or other targeted company cannot technically or economically manage to comply with the government’s orders to censor, the burden of proof is on the ISP to show that as an “affirmative defense.”
This bill goes too far. Kill it. Issa says he will introduce his alternative. I hope it follows the model of the UIGEA: cut off funding to lawbreakers. Censorship is not needed.
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Mary Bono Mack, pay attention: Here’s the model for any privacy ventures you should attempt: voluntary action by private individuals, educated by simple government actions. If you really must get government involved, teach the people to fish, so that they can protect their own privacy for a lifetime.
Because if we insist on regulating the Internet problems of the moment, not only do we expand a government that’s already to big, we risk looking pretty stupid, too. Ah, Prodigy. I never did get their modem to work.
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