Dead On Arrival: SOPA Shelved Indefinitely, Obama
Succumbs to Pressure, Issues Official Veto Threat
by Mac Slavo: Skynet:
One in Three U.S. Warplanes Is a Robot; 7,494 Drones and Counting
pressure from tens of thousands of internet users and major web
behemoths like Google, Facebook, and Reddit, the Stop Online Piracy
Act (SOPA) is, in its current form, Dead on Arrival:
efforts to combat online privacy have been threatening to stifle
innovation, suppress free speech, and even, in some cases, undermine
national security. As of yesterday, though, there’s a lot less
to worry about.
sign that the bills’ prospects were dwindling came Friday, when
SOPA sponsors agreed to drop a key provision that would have required
service providers to block access to international sites accused
ran into an even more significant problem yesterday when the White
House announced its opposition to the bills. Though the administration’s
chief technology officials officials acknowledged the problem
of online privacy, the White House statement presented a fairly
detailed critique of the measures and concluded, “We will
not support legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases
cybersecurity risk or undermines the dynamic, innovative global
Internet.” It added that any proposed legislation “must
not tamper with the technical architecture of the Internet.”
administration did issue a formal veto threat, the White
House’s opposition signaled the end of these bills, at least in
their current form.
A few hours
later, Congress shelved SOPA, putting off action on the
Monthly via The
by purported free speech advocates that include democrats and republicans
alike, the SOPA would have fundamentally transformed the internet
as we know it today. As Daisy Luther writes
at Inalienably Yours, the bill was nothing short of a direct
attack against the first Amendment and the right to free speech:
inspection, the legalese in the bill has the potential to eviscerate
free speech….and like NDAA, without proof…only with
suspicion of "wrong-doing". It's all about copyright
infringement. If you tick off the powers that be, and
you've quoted someone, somewhere, saying something, you may have
infringed on their copyright. As a defendant, you are
not even present at the legal proceeding allowing "them" to shut
you down until you prove yourself innocent.
How do they
shut you down? Search engines are required to remove you from
their listings. Internet Service Providers can be ordered to block
access to your site. Advertising networks and payment providers
can also be forced to cease doing business with you. This continues
until you are proven INNOCENT. Wait – I thought it was innocent
until proven guilty….oh….that was "before" the NDAA.
Internet: The Last Bastion of Free Speech
bill of goods was being sold to the American public as a way to
reduce online piracy originating on foreign shores, in essence the
legislation would have made it possible for any organization (with
the financial assets and access to attorneys to do so) to target
web sites (foreign or domestic) using excerpts, quotes, and videos
without express permission of the authors or producers of such content.
Furthermore, any web site linking to suspected copyrighted content
would be guilty by association for fascilitating the infringement.
to and excerpting Daisy's article above, for example, this particular
web site, and anyone who republishes this article, excerpts it,
or pulls a link from it, could be shut down on the service provider
level until such time they prove their innocence. (*Note to
DHS, et. al.: Daisy has given us permission to reprint her article
or portions of it, and the excerpt from Washington Monthly has been
reprinted under Fair Use to advance understanding of this political
and Constitutional issue*)
part of the legislation, as Daisy points out above, is that due
process would have been eliminated (just like in the NDAA), forcing
internet providers, search engines and ad networks to simply shut
down a web site(s) based on just the complaintant's accusations,
leaving those web site owners who were shut down to deal with the
fallout with costly legal expenses and lengthy court battles.
You may recall
that in 2010 the government shut
down 73,000 web sites in exactly this manner. Though the owners
of the majority of the targeted sites were not technically infringing
copyrights, some were linking to other sites that did, making them
Even more alarming
is the ability, under legislation such as SOPA, of the government
to control the flow of information across major internet providers.
Articles or videos criticizing political figures or policies could
easily be targeted, as they were in October of this year when the
to shut down rogue publishers of critical content.
What it boils
down to is that SOPA was an attempt to put the power of
information back in the hands of an elite few who are rapidly losing
the ability to control what the masses are reading, hearing and
seeing. Alternative news and ‘extremist' information was the
target (and still is).
While we applaud
President Obama (yes, we agree with him on this move) for formally
issuing a veto threat, we remain skeptical of his motivations. This
being an election year, the last thing the President needs to be
dealing with along with the economic crisis and tensions in the
middle east, is the protests of millions of voters who would have
undoubtedly taken to the streets when access to their favorite web
sites like Youtube, Google, Facebook, and Twitter were shut down
because of alleged SOPA violations.
aren't one bit convinced that this veto was done in the interests
of free expression, as the administration may claim. In November,
the President issued a similar veto threat about the National Defense
Authorization Act (NDAA), which allows for the detention of American
citizens determined to be threats to national security and public
safety on the domestic (U.S.) battlefront. He flip-flopped
on the issue just a couple of weeks later, and signed the bill
into law over New Year's weekend to complete silence from the mainstream
It is our view
that SOPA, in one form or another, will return with a vengeance.
from SHTF Plan.
Slavo [send him mail] is a
small business owner and independent investor.
© 2012 Mac Slavo
Best of Mac Slavo