What are SOPA & PIPA and why should you still care?
Just like everything of worth, the Internet itself is now being viewed as an resource. But not just any resource: a resource that has no restraints. Its availability is seen as a threat to others because of the Internets ability to affect other resources like the music industry and Hollywood. Thus came the proposal of the initiative called the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA).
In October of last year Rep. Lamar Smith presented SOPA and there has been a huge debate since. Why the debate? Similar to Napster (2001), there are simply many “rouge” sites out there in which content (movies & music specifically) are available for free which is severely hurting those perspective industries. Part of why the reason movie tickets prices have increased considerably are due to the effect of these “rouge” sites on the industry. Now these “rouge” sites are not on US soil, but hosted abroad and thus outside US jurisdiction. In other words we can not directly stop them.
SOPA & PIPA come from the same objective but go about it different ways. PIPA would require the domain name providers (i.e. GoDaddy, Domain.com) to terminate the sites, while SOPA is more elaborate by instructing Internet Service Providers (ISP) such as Verizon and Cablevision to handle the “blocking” of those sites from their providers. The result would be something to the affect of when FOX was temporarily not available on Cablevision during contract disputes.
The three main issues with SOPA are as follows:
- Security: The actions needed to be taken would undermine the current DNSSEC system in place for secure connection between user and website. This is because the ISP would have to redirect “rouge” sites elsewhere hence opening potential hacker infiltration.
- Big Brother: Part of locating “rouge” sites will be handled by ISPs monitoring subscribers’ (yes that means you) Internet browsing.
- Errors: If any site is considered “rouge” by some accident or hacker attack the site can be automatically taken down and it would take a long process in which to bring it back online, so sites that are innocent wouldn’t necessarily be safe.
- Civil Rights: It is also being presented that such an initiative would be against freedom of speech.
While SOPA and PIPA may seem meaningless to the average person, it truly is not. The number of things truly “free” is being taken away. Next to the air we breath, the Internet is the free-est thing out there. So if you care do something about it. Let your voice be heard.
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