As I wrote about yesterday, the Protect IP Act that will be considered in the Senate very soon is a very bad idea. Aside from ending a free and open internet, aside from critically hampering our First Amendment rights, aside from giving multi-national corporations and politicians the ability to stifle any online speech they don’t like, it doesn’t solve the one thing it is supposed to fix.
This is why I’m baffled that Sen. Al Franken (DFL-MN) is a co-sponsor of it. Sen. Klobuchar is, too, but I’m not surprised. She’s been lousy on net neutrality and doesn’t take stands on issues. On the other hand, Al has been a real champion of net neutrality and I’m still shocked about him supporting this.
I still haven’t heard back from Franken’s office about why he supports it and what he thinks it solves.
Here’s the deal. The Protect IP Act is supposed to shut down websites that infringe upon intellectual property rights. But many of these sites are outside of the US. The Protect IP Act would not prevent this.
Leaving aside the general issue of freedom of speech (which shouldn’t be left aside, but I want to focus on the technical issues here), PROTECT IP and SOPA would prevent a long-standing security hole from ever being closed, and it wouldn’t even work.
In fact, the Protect IP Act would destabilize the internet security-wise. If you follow the link provided you can read all about DNS spoofing and how the Protect IP Act would really muck things up. But don’t believe me, I’m just an IT geek for a living. Believe Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) and Sandia National Labs:
It turns out that Rep. Zoe Lofgren also doesn’t like the idea of DNS hijacking, and asked Sandia National Labs for its assessment. Sandia has a long history with the Internet and its predecessor, the ARPAnet. Anyway, Rep. Lofgren asked a number of questions that were very on point, and Sandia responded. You can see the response here. One gets the feeling that the good scientists at Sandia were most pleased to give her a most thorough and helpful response (“One staff member characterized the proposed DNS filtering mandate as a ‘whack-a-mole’ approah that would only encourage users and offending websites to resort to low cost workarounds”).
In summary, PROTECT IP and SOPA would not only likely result in the destruction or at least grave damage to the Internet as a means for peer to peer communication (as opposed to top down spoon feeding of so-called entertainment), it would threaten the future of the Internet for secure commerce and communication of all sorts, and it wouldn’t even work. Please contact your senators and representatives today to ask them to withhold their support for this atrocious piece of legislation.