Over the past few months, there’s been a lot of attention on the PROTECT IP Act going through the US Senate and the Stop Online Piracy Act going through Congress. I’ve been actively promoting against these bills from being passed into law across my various social networks. Most recently, I self-censored my own blog (nobulb.com) in participation with American Censorship Day and shared with my friends.
One of my buddies who shares my skepticism about random links on the internet questioned, “You don’t really believe this do you?” I took the opportunity to explain the crux of what was happening in this legislation that many average Americans have missed.
The bill on the table will allow law makers to try to manipulate which websites are allowed to be viewable by the public. This is wrong on a number of reasons, most importantly that it circumvents our right to free speech.
But even MORE importantly than this fact is that no matter what legalese the government can put behind whether a website can be allowed up or not, the internet will evolve around these laws and make them effectively useless in a matter of MINUTES (even SECONDS…you can bet people are building solutions to circumvent these laws today in preparation).
In effect, all this law will do is add additional red tape and raise taxpayer’s costs. Services which the government deems illegal will CERTAINLY find another way around the blocks the government can put in place and the entire ecosystem surrounding the internet (which has no intention of illegal activity such as the well-meaning business owners, internet providers, engineers who improve the internet, and millions of American internet users) will be saddled with the cost of maintaining this unenforceable mandate.
In short, yes I believe this.
Over the past years, the US Government has gradually consumed our liberties in the name of “what’s best for us”. This is another step in that direction. And what’s more painful is that these laws are circumventing legal due process which would normally protect sites that the government finds questionable and ensure they receive a fair trial and hearing. Please take some time to share your opinion with your representatives.