And the Lights Went Out, All Over the ‘Net.

This is fiction. Maybe:

“This morning, people around the world are waking up to a new internet.  A different internet. An internet where we at last can reap the benefits of the diligence, expertise, and forethought of our benevolent leaders who, guided by the selfless work of the great media engine and those in power over it, saw with crystal clarity the need for a strong response to the insipid cancer that is intellectual property piracy. No longer will the hard-working creatives who produce the great works of art and information be trodden underfoot by the lowlife, belly-crawling, bottom-feeding thieving scum that are everywhere, into everything, and beholding to nobody. Today, we take back what is rightfully ours. A clean internet. A pure internet. A safe internet…”

If this doesn’t sound Orwellian to you, what planet have you been on for the past few months? No doubt the sponsors of SOPA/PIPA want you to believe exactly what I just wrote. Before you blindly swallow what they’re dishing up, do me a favor and at least read a little about this thing that has websites across the country (from my lowly little corner of the ‘net all the way to Wikipedia and O’Reilly Media) up in arms. Go ahead, check it out. I’ll wait.

You’re back.  So, what do you think?  Am I overreacting?  Am I just a fearmonger that should be ignored because I don’t understand the way things really are, much the way New Hampshire’s GOP speaker doesn’t want students to vote because they’re young, dumb, and liberal?  I’m in my late 40’s, I’ve been working in the technology field for 30 years, and these two bills still piss me off.  And clearly, it’s not just me.  If it was, there wouldn’t be as many websites today doing exactly the same thing I am here, getting in your face about it.

I could waste bandwidth rehashing what you can easily find elsewhere on the ‘net, but I won’t.  Click any of the links in this piece (well, any link but the one about that idiot in New Hampshire) and you’ll get an eyeful, so you don’t need to hear it again from me.  I’ll just hit the highlights:

  • While I’d like to believe the politicians behind these two bills have the best intentions in mind (I said “I’d like to believe”, but I’m having a real tough time with it), don’t for a minute believe that the RIAA, the MPAA, or any of the companies that back SOPA/PIPA have anything but their own interests first and foremost.
  • This is not simply a bunch of twenty somethings whining about not being able to get Lady Gaga’s latest track for free.  This is much, much bigger than that.  Should either of these bills become law, the groundwork for much broader and more destructive censorship will have been squarely set.  Once that’s done, it will be even harder to go back.
  • The people behind these bills repeatedly say “That’s not what these bills do.  We would never permit that.”  Unfortunately, the legislation is so broadly and badly written it can be interpreted in many ways, including ways the authors never intended.
  • The key issues here involve two things:  bypassing due process with little to no required justification or proof and weakening the infrastructure of the internet to allow said bypass.  These bills do both.  This is effectively using a hydrogen bomb to eradicate a mosquito infestation.
  • Comcast has announced that now that they’ve implemented DNSSEC, they couldn’t implement SOPA as it’s incompatible with their now more secure network.  That should tell you something.

So, it’s your turn.  I’ve done what I can.  The choice is yours:

  1. Contact your congressional representative and tell them you don’t want the internet devolving into what would effectively be the beginnings of an informational “police state”,  OR
  2. Get used to the internet looking more like the sample you’ll see around the web today.

If you think I’m exaggerating, fine.  Just sit back and do nothing. That’s what’s what the people trying to push this through are hoping for: complacence.

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