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August 7, 2013

It’s No Longer OK to Not Know How the Internet Works

Networking ImageLast year, as the debates over SOPA and PIPA raged, Joshua Kopstein at Motherboard wrote a post entitled “Dear Congress, It’s No Longer OK to Not KNow How the Internet Works“. In the post, he blasted Congress for joking about how little they understood about the Internet while, at the same time, attempting to legislate it.

A year later, it’s time to revisit that message, but in a different context.

With the recent NSA scandals, the attack on Tor network (widely suspected to be orchestrated by the U.S. government), and deep concerns about how government and private entities are cooperating to share user data, it’s clear isn’t just the government that needs a primer on how the Internet works.

The everyday user that does as well.

For most people, including many who grew up with the Internet, the Web seems almost magical. They click to visit a site or send an email and they get content or data from half a world away, nearly instantly.

But where most people take the time to understand at least the basics of how their car works, far fewer have taken the time to understand how the Internet works, even as they depend upon it more and more as part of their daily lives.

But like not knowing how a car works, ignorance can be dangerous and, also like a car, a little bit of understanding can go a long, long way. read more

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March 1, 2012

Visualisation Of SOPA: An Infographic

Now that the dust has settled from the SOPA outrage back in January we can look back at how the US Senate attempted to push through an act that would have changed the way the we use the internet and would have most likely put many sites and services (many of which are free) that we use on a day to day basis out of business almost immediately. Many things have been said about SOPA already but the real story that stands out over what happened in the days and weeks running up to and after January 18th is that it brought together websites, businesses and individuals in an unprecedented level of online activism and protest that has never been seen before. The following infographic design looks at what SOPA and PIPA consisted of and the protests that followed.

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January 23, 2012

SOPA Clearly Isn’t the Answer to Online Piracy

I honestly don’t fully know the best way to combat online piracy; but I do know that the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) isn’t it. The bill would create a plethora of problems if it were passed. Let’s be real here, copyright infringement and piracy are real problems that need real solutions, but when you spot a weed growing in your front yard, do you dig up the entire lawn to get rid of it? No, you pull that weed, and ONLY that weed, out of the ground and you do your best to monitor the lawn for any future weeds.

User-Generated Content Sites and SOPA

Censored by SOPA

One of the complaints that you’ll consistently hear about the SOPA bill is that it is way too generalized and all-encompassing. For instance, under SOPA, a site will be considered dedicated to the theft of U.S. intellectual property if it is “primarily designed or operated for the purpose of offering services in a manner that enables or facilitates copyright infringement”. Well, take YouTube for example; the online video site serves an average of 100 million videos every single day. The majority of it is uploaded by users, who can remain anonymous with minimal effort if they so choose. Under SOPA, YouTube can be considered a site that is primarily designed in a way that enables copyright infringement because of those reasons. Totally nuts. Blog owners might find themselves harboring illegal content through RSS, and pay the price for it; who knows anymore? read more

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January 20, 2012

SOPA Outrage Sends Bill Back To The Drawing Board

Filed as News with 3 comments

SOPA WikipediaLess then two full days after some of the world’s top websites began protesting the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), the lead sponsor of the bill Lamar Smith, says it will be sent back to the drawing board and redraft with an emphasis on keeping censorship off the table.

Speaking about the decision to keep the bill off the table Smith noted:

“I have heard from the critics and I take seriously their concerns regarding proposed legislation to address the problem of online piracy.” He went on to add: “It is clear that we need to revisit the approach on how best to address the problem of foreign thieves that steal and sell American inventions and products.”

Lamar Smith says he’s still committed to protecting “American intellectual property and innovation” but he stopped short of saying how the bill could be changed to reach that goal.

Under the current form of SOPA critics have argued that the bill would allow company’s to easily shut down sites that disagreed with its opinions, while pushing up the cost of community driven sites such as Wikipedia and Reddit by forcing owners to monitor activity in near real-time.  read more

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