You may have heard or discovered yourself that today Wikipedia and a bunch of other websites of turned themselves off to the English-speaking world to protest SOPA (HR 3261) and PIPA (S 968), to acts in the US House and Senate which stand for Stop Online Piracy Acta and Protect Intellectual Property Act. They are similar and designed to shut down digital piracy where DMCA stops by DNS blocking and/or re-routing. I’m kind of a geek, but I forget exactly how the internet works. Basically this would allow the fine folks at the MPAA and such to effectively shut down websites outside of US jurisdiction to people within the US (and possibly outside). There are a number of problems with these, particularly that they would literally breaks the internet. IP (Internet Protocal) works a certain way as decided by some body of geeks somewhere and this would legally force pieces of the internet to fail to work as IP requires. Unforeseen consequences may ensue, and the blocking of sites would very probably effect people outside to the US’s jurisdiction. Lots of people know a lot more and have a lot more to say about this stuff.
Anyway, I’m very excited that this legislation has gotten so much negative attention, and feel there’s a pretty good chance that it will wind up getting shot down altogether. However, people who are concerned with internet censorship should remember or learn for the very first time that the internet is already censored and has been for years. The DMCA (Digitial Millennium Copyright Act) was passed way back in 1998 and not only permits websites to be shut down, but also for search engine results to be culled.
Further, a very nasty piece of legislation was recently signed into law by Obama that expressly allows for indefinite detention of anyone in the world without trial and without Habeas Corpus. The 2012 NDAA has gotten relatively little press. It got a lot of attention, but if one bill was to get enough negative attention to wind up not becoming law, this is the one I would’ve picked.