Most of you know me for my basketball opinions. Some of you may know that I'm also a technologist. During rare times, both of those passions unite. This is one of those times.
It's likely you're familiar with SOPA, or at least have heard about it on the news. Today the internet is protesting. You may notice the english version of Wikipedia is blacked out, with Google, Reddit, and many other major internet players making similar statements. Vox Media and SBNation join them in opposition of this potentially devastating piece of legislature.
The bill right now is short on details, which in and of itself should be enough not to pass the bill considering its far reaching consequences. I'm not going to sit here and bore you with agonizing details, but I do implore you to read up on it. I can't stress how potentially damaging the effects are. This has the potential to shut sites like SBNation down without due process. To kill millions of jobs due to stifled creativity and a drastically changed economic landscape on the web. This has the potential to regulate the internet in ways Communist China would be proud of. It also will make the internet inherently less secure. I wouldn't expect our lawmakers to understand the intricacies of our DNS infrastructure, but I would hope they wouldn't bask in their ignorance on the subject and ignore pleadings from the technically informed.
These are decisions being made by people with no knowledge of how the internet works, pushing through legislation to appease its big constituents in the entertainment industry, who have displayed time and time again that they have no interest in due process. Hollywood's right to make bad business decisions needs to stop when it gets to the point where they kill our freedom of speech.
They're doing so despite near universal opposition in the technology sector, including engineers who have had a hand in making the internet what we know and love.
It's not that people who oppose SOPA support pirating. It's that people who oppose SOPA recognize how much this bill will stifle creativity on the internet. It's that people who oppose SOPA are fans of due process, fans of freedom of speech, and recognize that the government censoring the internet will cause more harm than it would fix. It's not that we don't want to stop pirating, it's that this isn't the right way to do so.
SOPA goes against everything America was founded for, and everything the internet was designed to do. As Google says, end piracy, not liberty.
To quote TheOatMeal, this is like dealing with a lion that has escaped from a zoo by blasting some kittens with a flamethrower.
I urge you to educate yourself on SOPA and PIPA and its potential consequences. Furthermore, I urge you to sign the petition and contact your Congressman and Senators to let them know how you oppose a censored internet.