SOPA and PIPA are bad

The Internet in the United States is under a threat of assault, the likes of which I’ve never seen. Two bills going through Congress right now, SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect IP Act), will likely cause secure breakage to the technical underpinnings of the Internet.

The idea behind these bills is to go after copyright violators. However, the methods allowed are extremely aggressive. Can you imagine a single image uploaded to Facebook which turns out to be owned by someone else being the catalyst which makes it impossible to go to Facebook unless you know its IP address? These bills don’t take sites of the net so much as they break your ability to look up the underlying address of the site.

A thorough treatise is posted here at the Stanford Law Review. There are many other sites which go into detail on SOPA such as this one by Adam Savage of Mythbusters and this one over at Lifehacker (which includes a nice video describing the problem).

There has also been some collateral damage in this war. GoDaddy, for instance, had initially shown support for SOPA. As a result, a boycott was called unless they inform Congress that they don’t support the bills at all.

It also appears that SOPA will break the forming DNSSEC (a secure form of DNS, the “phone book” of the Internet) specification.

All in all, this must stop. Letters and calls to Senators and Congresspeople are a good idea at this point.

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