What happens when the government wants to fire a salvo in the copyright war that will, as a function of its broadside, accidentally break the foundation of the internet? Everyone gets upset, from the common folk to the mass media — because, see, everyone uses the internet. Thus, SOPA and PIPA died.
What happens when a whole lot of companies and a whole lot of House representatives want to push a bill that serves as another (more stealthy) salvo in that same copyright war, which indemnifies companies against being sued for any privacy violation that happens when the government demands personal information about customers without a warrant, allowing a completely legal totalitarian Big Brother state that extends far beyond the borders of the state in question? Apparently nothing — because, see, evidently nobody gives a shit about privacy. Continue reading “CISPA marches onward with precious little fanfare or opposition”→
Total internet surveillance, without legal recourse. Facebook and other big tech companies are supporting giving information to the government without warrants, so that when they cooperate with the government they can’t be held accountable to the users whose privacy they violated.
If this goes down, my Facebook account will be purged of everything I can purge, and will go dark permanently. Not that it’ll matter, because if the law is passed, using any server geolocated in the US is tantamount to saying “yes, US government, you can have all my personal information.”
So, say the government thought you were discussing a cybersecurity threat or IP theft — such as illegal file sharing somehow related to cybersecurity — on Facebook. The bill would not force Facebook to hand you over to the feds, yet CISPA does make it so that Facebook will be completely unrestricted (say, by your rights) to cooperate with Homeland Security to the fullest extent.
The so-called “cybersecurity bill” lets the US government into any online communication if it believes there is reason to suspect cyber crime, or a threat of intellectual property theft. The bill defines “cybersecurity systems” and “cyber threat information” as anything related to protecting networks from:
‘(A) efforts to degrade, disrupt, or destroy such system or network; or ‘(B) theft or misappropriation of private or government information, intellectual property, or personally identifiable information.
“Cybersecurity” is not actually defined in the bill.
The Internet won a blow for sanity in defeating SOPA/PIPA, the content middleman industry’s latest salvo in the fight to keep the old ways of making money off content profitable. And yet, the content middleman industry lumbers on, as only a dying cash cow can.
This is what a protest looks like. Get used to suddenly finding no new content, or no content at all, at completely arbitrary websites anywhere on the internet, if you don’t do something to stop SOPA / PIPA.
Washington, D.C. – House Judiciary Committee Chairman Lamar Smith (R-Texas) today said that he expects the Committee to continue its markup of the Stop Online Piracy Act in February.
Chairman Smith: “To enact legislation that protects consumers, businesses and jobs from foreign thieves who steal America’s intellectual property, we will continue to bring together industry representatives and Members to find ways to combat online piracy.
“Due to the Republican and Democratic retreats taking place over the next two weeks, markup of the Stop Online Piracy Act is expected to resume in February.
“I am committed to continuing to work with my colleagues in the House and Senate to send a bipartisan bill to the White House that saves American jobs and protects intellectual property.”
Tomorrow, if I have my way, you’re going to have to click through a splash screen to get at the blog. If it annoys you, complain to your local representatives. Tell them hi from Canada.
The SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) is an empirically bad thing. Cory Doctorow has an hour-long talk explaining the road to this onerous set of laws, this spider-swallowing to catch a fly to borrow Doctorow’s analogy, but the route to this terrible toll bridge on the information superhighway is less interesting than the toll itself. It is a toll that seems easy enough to swallow, like the spider, where all you have to do is accept that companies have the right to assert their copyright and unilaterally have websites removed from the internet. The spider’s consequences on the body of the internet will however be destructive and ultimately deadly. Continue reading “SOPA is dead, long live PIPA (or: Computer Armageddon, here we come!)”→