Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Bear Witness - Control of the Internet - The S 968 Act


                    Waking up America





Oppose Government ‘Protection’ of the Internet   

S. 968, the PROTECT IP Act.

Another cybersecurity bill has made its way out of committee and is ready to be brought to the floor for a vote in the Senate. This one is fraught with the typical bureaucratic mumbo-jumbo and broadly written legislativese that is reflected in its title, “Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property,” -- the title clearly an afterthought serving the acronym in a big way. It’s meant to imply an aura of protection and safety, to be provided by big government, for the Internet.

The government says it wants to crack down on counterfeiters and online pirates and any rogue websites whether they be registered in the U.S. or overseas that are “dedicated to infringing activities.” So, this legislation, S. 968, is a copyright enforcement proposal for the communication and commerce system of the 21st century. But the target of recrimination will not necessarily be the sites that are breaking the law, but could be third party hosts, reports the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

Because the definition of an Internet site in the legislation covers so many interconnected facets, any website including search engines like Google could be forced to delist whole domains on the basis of a flimsy or even false copyright claim by a content provider. This all-encompassing legislation literally allows the government to break the Internet.

For sites outside the United States, a federal Attorney General could act to obtain a court order of permanent injunction, but the orders could only be served against third parties within the U.S., and operators of certain domain name system servers would then be required to cut the sites off. Even credit card companies would have difficulty with their online global business with such limitations.

A group of Internet and intellectual property lawyers have written to members of Congress to alert them to the dangers of this piece of legislation which has “grave constitutional infirmities, potentially dangerous consequences for the stability and security of the Internet’s addressing system, and will undermine United States foreign policy.” They believe it would “undermine” freedom of speech issues and insist that S. 968 is in line with policies in “repressive regimes” such as China.

Thankfully Oregon Senator Ron Wyden, a democrat, has placed a somewhat tenuous hold on the PROTECT IP Act, or PIPA legislation. “PIPA’s prescription takes an overreaching approach to policing the Internet when a more balanced and targeted approach would be more effective. The collateral damage of this approach is speech, innovation and the very integrity of the Internet,” said Wyden in a press release. For now Wyden’s hold is all that is stopping passage, due to great support in the Senate, and from labor unions and the Chamber of Commerce along with various manufacturing groups.

Contact your representatives in both the House and the Senate and add your voice to the growing number that recognize this bill for what it is, another step toward full control of the Internet by the government.


Bear Witness Central   //  Jacksonville Beach, FL  //   //

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