As many of you already know, websites will be going dark tomorrow, Wednesday Jan. 18th, to protest the SOPA/PIPA bills in Congress.
These bills supposedly protect intellectual property. In reality, they protect the profits of a few megacorporations at the price of, literally, damaging the internet irretrievably.
They rely on methodology which is trivial for hackers to circumvent. (For instance, Google is blocked? Just use 126.96.36.199 instead.)
They break domain name security (pdf).
They enable competitors, malicious people, the government, indeed anyone, to shut down any site because they make site owners responsible for all infringement on a site. That means someone could leave a comment containing a copyright infringement, report the site, and the whole site would be shut down. No court orders are necessary. Good luck getting someone on the phone to appeal the decision.
Actually, as of the last news I heard, SOPA had been removed indefinitely. Only the Senate version, PIPA, is currently on the active list, due to be voted on Jan. 24th. But many of us want to be sure that our concerns about these absurd bills are understood, that PIPA is also stopped, and that SOPA doesn’t re-emerge as soon as the House leadership thinks they can get away with it.
The blackout is going ahead to demonstrate how the internet would look if sites were blocked willy nilly. I’ll see you again on Thursday because so far we still have our free, open, and unblocked internet and I can say that with confidence.
If you’d like to keep it that way and you’re in the US, call or email your Congresscritters!