Internet Providers Face New Federal Pressure to Police Users’ Activities

(EFF) We’ve reported here often on efforts to ram through Congress legislation that would authorize massive interference with the Internet, all in the name of a fruitless quest to stamp out all infringement online.  Today Representative Lamar upped the ante, introducing legislation, called the Stop Online Piracy Act, or “SOPA,” that would not only sabotage the domain name system but would also threaten to effectively eliminate the DMCA safe harbors that, while imperfect, have spurred much economic growth and online creativity.

As with its Senate-side evil sister, PROTECT-IP, SOPA would require service providers to “disappear” certain websites, endangering Internet security and sending a troubling message to the world: it’s okay to interfere with the Internet, even effectively blacklisting entire domains, as long as you do it in the name of IP enforcement. Of course blacklisting entire domains can mean turning off thousands of underlying websites that may have done nothing wrong.  And in what has to be an ironic touch, the very first clause of SOPA states that it shall not be “construed to impose a prior restraint on free speech.” As if that little recitation could prevent the obvious constitutional problem in what the statute actually does.

But it gets worse. Under this bill, service providers (including hosting services) would be under new pressure to monitor and police their users’ activities.  Websites that simply don’t do enough to police infringement (and it is not at all clear what would qualify as “enough”) are now under threat, even though the DMCA expressly does not require affirmative policing.  It creates new enforcement tools against folks who dare to help users access sites that may have been “blacklisted,” even without any kind of court hearing. The bill also requires…

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Bryce Shonka is Liberty Voice's new Editor and also serves as the Deputy Director for Tenth Amendment Center. He is happy to be producing content for a new audience and from a new place (Seattle, WA).

1 Comment

  1. Bob Marshall

    October 27, 2011 at 11:10 am

    The internet has exposed the inner workings of the governments and its connected agencies .Freedom of speech is fast disappearing in America. the one thing the global elite fear is the messages about their activities exposed through the internet. The news media is controlled by the major corporations and the censoring by the White House. the Bilderberg Group once thanked the major news media for covering up their activities for over forty years. Many news men and women have and still work for the CIA. it is fortunate for the White house that millions of Americans don’t care what either congress or our governments does. They go about their everyday lives with their head buried in the sand. “I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedoms of the people by gradual and silent encroachment of those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations.” James Madison. Thomas Jefferson said that the larger the government, the less freedom and liberty those citizens will have.

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