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The Web World Fights Back Against Federal Internet Control

January 18, 2012 by  

The Web World Fights Back Against Federal Internet Control

Does the Federal government need to have a hand in controlling the Internet’s vast wealth of information via the Stop Online Piracy Act and Protect IP Act? Many people in the tech industry think not, and some are using the resources at their disposal to fight back.

The proposed legislation is the product of years of lobbying by music labels and film studios to combat pirated content available through search engines and websites. The industries lobbied Congress and the Senate to introduce SOPA, which in its current form would transfer the responsibility for policing the Internet from law enforcement agencies to websites and the Internet providers. The founders of leading search engines and websites such as Google, Facebook, Twitter and Wikipedia are concerned that the bill will have a chilling impact on free speech, innovation and the free-flow of information on the Internet because webmasters would be forced to heavily monitor all content that passes through their pages to avoid liability for copyright infringement.

In an open letter to Congress, the tech innovators argue that SOPA and Protect IP will:

Require web services, like the ones we helped found, to monitor what users link to, or upload. This would have a chilling effect on innovation;

Deny website owners the right to due process of law;

Give the U.S. Government the power to censor the web using techniques similar to those used by China, Malaysia and Iran; and

Undermine security online by changing the basic structure of the Internet.

Though the Administration of Barack Obama has said the President will veto any legislation that “reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk, or undermines the dynamic, innovative global Internet,” Congress has not backed down on SOPA. As lawmakers continue to try to move forward with the Internet regulation legislation, major players in the tech industry are fighting back.

Founder of Wikipedia, an online encyclopedia, Jimmy Wales has called for a “public uprising” against SOPA and Protect IP. His website is joining social news website Reddit — founded by Steve Huffman and Alexis Ohanian — in a 24-hour website shutdown today in protest of the legislation. Search engine Google will also protest the legislation not with a shutdown of its service, but by displaying a message on its homepage for the millions of Americans who use it daily.

“Right now what I’m thinking is that if there is a credible threat that this might happen, this could have a positive impact on the thinking of some legislators,” wrote Wales of the site shutdowns on his blog. “Do not underestimate our power – in my opinion they are terrified of a public uprising about this, and we are uniquely positioned to start that.”

Ohanian — in a recent video blog that can be viewed below — said that government has no business in Internet regulation because lawmakers do not understand the technology, but only understand the money that Hollywood lobbyists are throwing their way to get the laws passed.

Evidence to support Ohanian’s claim that lawmakers have no idea what they are about to do to the Internet may have been best noted in a recent report by a blog called Vice. In a recent post, the blog pointed out that the author of SOPA, Representative Lamar Smith (R-Texas), on his own website actually broke the law he wrote. Smith apparently used the artwork of artist DJ Schulte, which is protected under a Creative Commons license, without any attribution to the artist. If SOPA were in effect, Schulte would likely be able to petition a court to take action against

According to Vice, Smith’s website went down for several hours “for maintenance” after the blog posted the article about the lawmaker’s alleged hypocrisy. When it came back up, several images had been changed.

Sam Rolley

Staff writer Sam Rolley began a career in journalism working for a small town newspaper while seeking a B.A. in English. After learning about many of the biases present in most modern newsrooms, Rolley became determined to find a position in journalism that would allow him to combat the unsavory image that the news industry has gained. He is dedicated to seeking the truth and exposing the lies disseminated by the mainstream media at the behest of their corporate masters, special interest groups and information gatekeepers.

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  • Temper

    People have become sooooo informed about the corruption in OUR government, what Lobbists buy, what environmental issues being unreported, about GMO’s and area 51 and the 27 underground levels and who are allowed there..about HAARP and NASA reports kept from us…ABOUT ET information..all this will be prohibited once censorship is allowed. AND who has the most to lose? US! that is “us”, in the people…Underground cities in Virginia, and Colorado.etc.etc.etc…Keep us free and informed! Read between the lines or what is NOT being made public with the passage of this bill…NOTICE the REPUBLICANS who want this passed. Having a REPUBLICAN PRESIDENT will be like shooting us in the head! WAKE-UP AMERICA..we are being SCAMMED …AGAIN!

    • 1minuteman

      whats your alternative obama? give me a break. while i share a lot of your fears anyone is better than the most anti-american person in politics i have ever seen in obama. there is not a perfect candidate out there but the republican field is a far better option than what we have. we have to keep electing better people in congress to getback the checks and balances we are supposed to have. people like allen west,demint,bachman etc.

      • traderphil

        Unfortunately BOTH parties are OWNED by Big Banks! Period! Once you folks get the truth to the forefront of your minds you will see it has (and especially now IS being completely controlled by these same banks!) The very same banks that SET INTEREST RATES , selling INTEREST RATE SWAPS to the rest of the world (which is the main reason for the financial devastation to the rest of the world as it makes the BIG BANKS RECORD PROFITS!!!) And NOBODY WAS EVEN CHARGED!! The VERY SAME PEOPLE WHO CREATED THE FINANCIAL MESS ARE STILL RUNNING THE GOVT!!!!! A TOTAL and COMPLETE (verifiable) SET UP!!! HELLO!!!????? Are any of you folks awake? It is as easy to see as the “ass on a goat” WAKE UP !!!!!!!!!!

    • Adair1979

      There is only one Party wake up the Republicrates and they are all in on it period.

  • CP

    Are you ready for Uncle Sugar to have access to everything you look at, send, or receive on your computer? If this bill passes, not only will he have access, but your internet provider will be REQUIRED to record where you have been and what you have seen, uploaded, or downloaded, and as of this time, there is no limit as to how long those records must be maintained.

    • Lynne

      “Are you ready for Uncle Sugar to have access to everything you look at, send, or receive on your computer?” He already does. Personal privacy no longer exists and hasn’t existed for years. Ron Paul 2012!

  • JDN

    The government already monitors every kind of communication whether its a cell phone , fax or internet and theres notmuch we can do . What they haven’t done yet is what they are best at and that is to trax and regulate it to death . It was only a matter of time but remember we are a free nation .

    • Sirian

      People keep forgetting about the NSA, don’t they?

      • Deerinwater

        From the wagging tongues and loose talk that we witness on these forums everyday, I’d say so.

        There is a prevailing false sense of security found in what seems inherent in the seemly ambiguity of cyberspace.

        The thinking that you are just one of millions, out of public eye, in the safe confines of home, launching verbal nuclear attacks in your bed cloths while your IP number can identify and locate you within a 4 ft. proximity.

        I question if some understand this as a reality. This of course gives us some idea of just how cleaver they truly are.

        copy & paste

        ” James 3:1-12

        1. Our study this morning concerns a subject that is in everyone’s mouth … the TONGUE.

        2. James confronts us with three truths about the tongue:

        a. It’s great influence (for good or evil)

        b. The monstrosity of iniquity it can administer

        c. And, the unique inconsistency it is capable of.”

  • Aurelio

    The Federal Government under an idiot liberal left-winger, or under the same right wing idiot will always try to put their hands on everything. Their objective is absolute power; the power of the kings. The will always rout for having total control over the individual. Fidel Castro in Cuba owns and determines, to the smallest detail, the life and choices of every person; to protect his paranoia and feed his egomania.
    As the former Soviet Union, the whole Eastern Block, China, North Korea and every dictatorship in the Middle East. Man can’t suppress the Alpha Male in him. But Obama brings to mind an old saying: better be in the hands of a scoundrel than in the hands of a fool. Because Obama is an arrogant fool, a man devoured by a complex of inferiority that projects its insecurity through the need to command others.

    Now we have something entirely new within the republicans: in order to derail Romney, they are attacking capitalism. In this endeavor, they have the competent assistance of those morons in Fox News. Now we can say with all certitude that we are doomed!

  • Deerinwater

    Information and disinformation has always been known to be a very powerful weapon. More of a double edged sword that can cut both ways.

    The fight to possess and control this weapon is as old as time itself.

    Where it be a witch doctor adorned in animal skins,body paint, dripping with bone jewelry and feathers or a Political analytic name Crystal Ball dressed in Sax 5th Ave two piece business suit,silk blouse, cultured pearls, 300 dollar 3″ pat leather pumps with curvy legs up to her neck. Everybody wants the inside edge.

    I can’t help but believe, there is enough people using the net today that understand this great power and protest would be too great.

    But make no mistake, many of the older ones fail to see or understand this awesome power and would sell their birth rights for a bowl of portage if it was presented to them in just the right way.

    People like my mother or Senator McCain, just to name two I know of that look upon a personal PC as they might a basket of snakes, with great apprehension, distrust and uncertainty.

    • FedUp

      I’ll cut you some slack here because many “older ones”, those over 32 years(?), don’t understand the technology and the implications of its use (neither do many less than 32 years of age), but don’t forget it was us old farts that created the technology and warned from the beginning that it could be used for nefarious purposes.

      We also happen to be involved in the fight, and in some cases, leading the charge because we know just how damaging oppressive governments can be.

      We’ve seen it, not read it in a book.

      • Deerinwater

        Hmm? forgive me, It is indeed a sliding scale that I failed to consider in crafting my sentences. I appreciate your offer of latitude.

        I think I have boots 32 years old.

        I was thinking more in line with “some folks” over 60 years of age. These citizens that tend to take voting as a “responsibility”.

        Many of our Senior’s have failed to embrace the information age and personal computers and I see it as a potential problem when they know so little about it while asked to consider voting on restricting it.

        • peter

          I am 72 years young so guess that makes me one of the others in the “over 60″ lot who ( a ) gives a damn ( b ) does have an opinion and ( c ) reckons that wisdom is a virtue that has somehow eluded most of our leaders, if not all of them, and that we are somehow unable to learn from history, just keep on making the same mistakes, refuse to accept the fact that our resources are both precious and definitely not limitless. If we do not change our outlook we are in very serious trouble indeed. That of course comes from the mouth of an old fool who has been there, done that, seen and experienced most of the devastation perpertrated by us idiots and cannot help thinking that we are actually a bunch of morons, despite our conceited view of our greatness and our ridiculous opinion that without us this planet is doomed. Just exactly how stupid is that? Peace to all.

    • cawmun cents

      Ah yes….DIW,with variety comes concerns that all information can be of dubious quality,and or content.
      While the http://www.whatevers are seen as pertinent to the rest of the worlders,elder citizens recognize the dangers of too much information.
      With abundance comes inconsistency.It becomes an act of opining,rather than having substance.That is why they have a fervent distrust.It begs the question:Is variety the spice of life?
      So you can see,that when it looks as if mouths will be shut,it seems to be a good thing.Problem is that it comes down to who’s mouths will be shut?It would probably be best if it was mine,but it might eventually extend to you as well.
      Enjoy the ability to opine at will while it lasts.But be mindful of the fact that those watching and listening often have the idea that what you are saying is dangerous.Therefore you must be silenced.
      Blogging will eventually be only available to those who conform to the standards of decency which are given by the world as just and right.Good luck to you and I when that occurs.I think we’ll be needing that luck.

    • steve

      don’t forget Bilderberg Jay Rockefeller who wishes the internet was never invented…the elites hate it because they can’t control it…they want to control ALL the information we receive and want us to get it from only their sources al la ABC,CBS,MSNBC,CNN and even FOX…

  • bill

    I agree with this article but as long as each individual citizen keeps going along
    with governments unconstitutional mandates,rules and regulations,then all I can say is “enjoy”

  • David Platter This video says it all. Watch it. The judge called like it is and remember only Ron Paul will give us a chance to turn this around. Dave

  • Lewis/Virginia

    Freedom is not FREE! If WE the PEOPLE are not willing to fight for OUR FREEDOM, WE the PEOPLE become Slaves to OUR GOVERNMENT! I’m NO ONES SLAVE,I LIVE FREE! I WILL FIGHT! FREEDOM or DEATH!

  • Billythekid

    How many of you have written or called your congressmman or senator?
    If you haven’t get your a$$es moving. Let the power grabbing parasites in Washington know your pissed. I have been doing it for years.

    Oh yeah, if you keep reelecting the same blood sucking idiots you’re part of the problem. GET INVOLVED !!

    If the Marxist halfrican is re elected we’re all doomed!

  • Buddy

    Smith is evidently a tool – - wonder what his reelection fund got for the try at more regulation.

  • Jon

    I am seriously going over all my business and personal affairs to determine how to operate without a computer or any involvement with others’. If laws like these are passed, I may be obliged to conduct everything with paper or word-of-mouth. I would suggest you folks may consider the same. Big Brother can’t watch as well if the curtains are closed.

  • s c

    Some of this #^_+ is SO predictable. We have a wannabe Emperor in the White House (and a dolt sidekick), and STILL the defenders of this hack politician REFUSE to see him for WHO and WHAT he is.
    Do you really think Obummer has ANY use for the Constitution? Do you really think he has ANY use for Americans being FREE?
    Obummer’s camp-follower SLIMERS are perfectly content to have a wannabe Emperor in the White House. What price ‘integrity,’ you back-stabbing trash?
    IF your wannabe Emperor had ANY use for the Constitution [that piece of paper that you worthless sons-of-bitches HATE], he would at least TRY to PRESERVE, PROTECT AND DEFEND the Constitution. For MORE than THREE YEARS, that wannabe Emperor has tried to DESTROY, SHRED and
    SCRAP the Constitution. Ergo, anyone who defends that wannabe Emperor is JUST AS GUILTY as he is.
    Anyone who would SELL his children to make a hack politician happy is an utterly worthless SCUMMER who never liked being FREE. Sleep well, scummers. There is NO way that your children would ever retaliate for becoming slaves. Or would they?

    • Jason Doucette

      I agree completely, s c, and it’s just so discouraging that most of America refuse to see him for what he is, or even worse… They do, and don’t care, because of all the free stuff they get from the Gov’t (by way of us taxpayers). By the time all the Obama supporters realize he’s the last piece of the puzzle in destroying America and thereby giving way to the NWO, it will be too late. And this year, may just be what 2012 will be known for in future history books…

  • Sarah Wallick

    Hey, Jon, I agree with your idea, but think on this….. The U.S.Postal Service is in major trouble….closing down many of their buildings in order to save costs. What happens to good old mail service if the Federal government shuts down the Post Office? Will we have to go back to using horses? Wake up, people…be not deceived!S.W.

  • ChristyK

    I just found out that Italy has banned cash purchases of over 1000 Euros and is monitoring borders to make sure people aren’t taking cash and valuables out of the country. If purchases are electronic, they can be tracked by the government. Be careful, if Italy gets away with this, it could be coming to America when the dollar really starts to drop in value (probably precipitated by the dollar being dropped as the world reserve currency).

    • Pilot

      What is valuable in Italy that someone might want to take away?

  • alex


    • John Lilleburns ghost

      Oh Dear an important post about real freedom and you decide its appropriate to be the shouty person. You are the virtual equivelent of the guy who shouts in the street about aliens taking over your brain or was it fidel castro? Please go away and take your meds. 120 Million what? If you are armed then law enforcement in your neighbourhood is not doing its job you shouldnt be alowed access to anything with a sharp edge let alone firearms

      • s c

        Blah. I wouldn’t try to categorize your writing style, but if you talk the way you write you might want to consider a discrete lounge act in Bullhead City (Arizona) as a Truman Capote impostor. You don’t really talk that way, do you?

  • Adair1979

    Why is it that for the best Texas has to offer Ron Paul they have many many more lunatics that need to be removed.

    • Deerinwater

      Hmm? when voter redistricting was forces into policy by the GOP and the GOP took control over the state and ushered in the likes of the Bushes.

      That’s my personal answer. It was a major occurrence of great significance, with many state democrats hiding out for weeks denying a quorum.

      It ended must like recent Wisconsin “flap” with the GOP getting their way.

  • Pilot

    Have you noticed that everything the government touches turns to crap?
    “Take your stinking paws off me, you damned dirty ape!”

    • s c

      Pilot, by the time you get to be my age, you’ll have known the answer to your own question deep in your bones for a long time. Just in case you’re not sure, EVERYTHING Uncle Scam touches turns to ^*_+.
      The ape thing was a nice touch (actually it’s an insult to all self-respecting apes). The comment does fit.

      • Pilot

        It was a rhetorical question.

  • Wyatt

    Somehow I think that this is less about piracy and more to do with wanting to be able to control the public . The current administration in Washington has but one desire , total power . Obama is a would be dictator and wants only to destroy our way of life .
    Without internet control , someone just might find out the truth about him , and all the current internet rumor once exposed as truth will spoil his plans . His hope and change is for America to be his own Communist dictatorship with types like Reid, Holder, Pelosi and, Maxine Waters as his inner circle .

    Down With Tyrants !

    • Jason Doucette

      Agree 100%. Unfortunately, I fear that by the time all the sheeple wake up to all the rumors proving to be fact, it’ll be too late for us all. And there’s no outside help to save us from tyranny, like we were there for Germany in our fight against Hitler.


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