SOPA/PIPA: Bad News for almost everyone

If you asked a bunch of congressmen to perform open-heart surgery on someone, how do you think their patient would fare? An operation on an immensely-important technically-complicated system should be done by people who are experts in medicine. SOPA and PIPA are bills that, in attempting to solve a relatively small problem on the Internet, will break huge chunks of how the Internet works. These two bills have so many technical problems that they’re painful to list: we’d throw out DNS security entirely, we’d surrender immense censorship power to private companies, we’d put sites in danger of being taken entirely offline by the actions of a single commenter, and, the real icing on the cake, is that neither bill will actually do anything to stop piracy.

Yes, that’s the real insult here: the bills would penalize law-abiding citizens while doing virtually nothing to pirates. All the bill’s facets can be entirely circumvented by a browser plugin and moving your payment processing and hosting overseas. Yes, this will surely do a great deal to stop the pirates and other ne’er-do-wells of the world.

So imagine a world without YouTube. With a censored Google. Imagine a world where a private company is allowed to effectively take your website or Facebook off-line because someone posted a link to a recording of a TV show or a lip-sync of a favorite song.

Please, write and call your representatives and tell them that you oppose SOPA and PIPA in any form, and that any future Internet regulations should 1. be carefully considered by experts on Internet technologies, 2. carefully examine if the problems can actually be solved by technical means, and 3. weighed against the costs they will impose on law-abiding citizens’ lives. Thank you.

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