SOPA/Protect IP: Are You Ready to Be Like China and Iran?

Right now, Congress is considering legislation that would all the government to block Americans from visiting web sites.

Please read the above again. Let it sink in.

It’s supposed to be about preventing piracy, and stopping “rogue” sites. But it’s a slippery slope. We’ve already got a horrifying potential privacy mess in the PATRIOT Act. Do we really need to continue chipping away at our rights with SOPA and/or Protect IP? CNET points out that, in order to effectively block a web site, consumer information and browsing habits might be part of the equation:

Deep packet inspection is the only way to block data from specific Web pages, or URLs. It also may raise new privacy concerns about SOPA because it relies on intercepting customers’ Web browsing, analyzing the protocols to see what’s going on, and reviewing the packets’ contents. That looks a lot like wiretapping, and a bipartisan group of House members soundly condemned it when a company named NebuAd tried it in 2008.

Do you really think, though, that the government would stop at just blocking piracy and rogue sites? The problem, too, is that the requirements could actually lead to self-censorship on the web. Mashable recently published an infographic that provides the basic points of SOPA, and what some of the consequences would be:

If you are at all interested in maintaining some degree of privacy and freedom on the Internet, you need to contact your representatives. Seriously. This is something you need to take action on. Yes, there are budget issues that need to be solved, and health care is still an appalling mess. But it’s going to be awhile before any sort of compromise can be made on these issues. SOPA/Protect IP legislation provides a chance for concerned citizens of all political persuasions to make their will known. Take a few minutes to contact your Congressional representatives. You can go to the Senate and House web sites and get the information you need to let your representatives know what you think. Fight for the Future offers the following video. Watch it. You should know what’s on the line. 

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