We live in a small, connected world where ideas and policies flow from country to country. In particular, the so-called ‘special relationship’ the UK has with the US means that, effectively, whatever the Americans think is a good idea regarding big business often ends up being implemented (as far as is possible given European legislation) over here.
That’s why I want to bring your attention to the proposed SOPA legislation currently being debated in the US Congress. Ostensibly, the idea is to crack down on piracy and ‘protect’ citizens. The potential reality is very different, with websites and blogs like the one you’re currently reading potentially being censored for even linking to a blog that attempts to circumvent government filtering.
Go and read this. It’s all about big business:
SOPA contains anti-circumvention language that would essentially allow for government control over essential privacy software such as VPNs, proxies, and even something as fundamental as SSH. SOPA also provides for an incredibly broad right of private action that would allow content owners to interfere with the operations of payment processors and social media services such as Twitter.
Every organization I believe represents our interests online is against it – the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Mozilla, Creative Commons, the Wikimedia Foundation – even YouTube, eBay and Paypal.
Please head over to americancensorship.org and do something about this. I’ll leave you with words from James Allworth from Harvard Business School:
[SOPA] contains provisions that will chill innovation. It contains provisions that will tinker with the fundamental fabric of the internet. It gives private corporations the power to censor. And best of all, it bypasses due legal process to do much of it.
More at BoingBoing.