The government is trying to mess with the internet, and honestly that’s no surprise. As the old adage goes, for every action there is an equal and opposite government program. If you’ve never fought for anything in your life, you need to at least cast a lazy eye at this affair. Cause if you don’t, no more free exchange of information for you. Which means no more lolcats or failblog. Yeah, life will be unlivable.
The above banner was taken from the following site: http://www.tumblr.com/protect-the-net/ and you’d do well to check it out, because if the government had its way, I would be currently getting arrested for putting it here. The meat of the matter is, Congress is hearing two bills that will inevitably and obviously serve as stepping stones to government control of the internet.
Let’s break this down.
First off, we have the PROTECT IP Act. And no, ‘protect’ isn’t in all caps because you’re supposed to yell it every time you mention it, it just so happens that it’s the worst acronym this side of WTF. It stands for Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act of 2011. (What the hell is ‘economic creativity’?)
“The PROTECT IP Act focuses on websites that have “no significant use” other than copyright infringement, or enabling or facilitating copyright infringement.”
At first this sounds wonderful. They even play on our fears of those crazy people from other countries by promising to “enhanc[e] enforcement against rogue websites operated and registered overseas”.
The problem here is, where do you draw the line? If you’re a legislator, apparently you don’t.
This law would result in the removal of any offending sites, and force search engines like Google, who will fight this thing even if it’s passed, to “(i) remove or disable access to the Internet site associated with the domain name set forth in the [court] order; or (ii) not serve a hypertext link to such Internet site.” The government can decide what you can and can’t search on Google, unless Google flexes its badass muscle like they did to China.
Second, as if the first bill wasn’t the worst idea in the world, you have SOPA, or the Stop Online Piracy Act. This act makes unauthorized streaming a felony… so on par with rape and murder. It’s also going to make facebook, tumblr, and youtube responsible for making its users remove any copyrighted material.
If you change your facebook profile picture to a picture of Spongebob, expect a friend request from the Attorney General.
Not only will these attempted changes fail hilariously and undoubtedly lead to further and more broad, restrictive legislation, they might break the web. How would you like our government to “disrupt the architecture of the internet”? Read the wiki posts if you’re interested in the details, they are grim and messy and point to bad things.
But please, check out that tumblr page, or just straight up call your representative and tell them to stop this monster before it’s too late.
As an aside, beware the false prophet that is Net Neutrality. In essence, it’s a mess of FCC suggestions that will eventually terminate in the government making sure the internet is free and open to use, which of course will mean it won’t be.
Stand up. If you won’t stand up for a political opinion, or vote, at least stand up for the internet. If you think about it, you will realize it is mankind’s greatest achievement. It allows you to communicate with anyone instantly, find out how to do anything you want, and, most importantly of all, it houses that which does the unthinkable and brings Senators and leaders of terrorist organizations together. Porn.
Help keep our little series of tubes unclogged. It’s kind of the last stand of free speech.