SOPA Can Impact Companies Who Think They're Immune

from the not-so-simple dept

SpiderOak is an online backup/syncing/storage platform. If you're familiar with Dropbox, it's quite similar to that. In fact, when Dropbox ran into some very public challenges concerning its privacy setup as well as how it handles government requests, one of the "alternatives" we heard about a lot was SpiderOak. I haven't used it myself, but a lot of folks I know and trust suggest that it's a good product, with really strong security and privacy rules. The company recently sent out an email to its users, which (in part) discusses SOPA:
What is SOPA? This act allows content owners - movie companies, music labels, etc. - to obtain court orders requiring search providers such as Google to filter their search results to exclude websites that host allegedly infringing material, and requiring the net registrars to block DNS servers from providing the correct IP address for such sites. The act also makes site owners civilly liable for the availability of copyright material on their sites. In addition, it makes the posting of a link to a third party website that has copyright material on it the same as hosting the material on your own site.

What does this mean for SpiderOak users if this act passes? You don't have to worry. Our level of encryption means not even your filenames, file sizes or file types are readable.
They also include a link to the American Censorship site. That's all cool, and it's certainly reassuring that their encryption keeps things secret... but in saying that you don't have to worry about it, it seems like SpiderOak actually just put a huge target on themselves. After all, SOPA has a big fat anti-circumvention clause, which specifically includes calling out products that are "marketed for the circumvention or bypassing of measures" in the bill. SpiderOak may have run afoul of that by "marketing" its product as immune to SOPA because of encryption (a circumvention tool).

This is, obviously, not to question SpiderOak at all, but rather to point out just how ridiculous the anti-circumvention clause is. Obviously there are tremendously good reasons why we all should want services like SpiderOak, with their high levels of encryption. But just the fact that it advertises that shouldn't be cause to get it in trouble under the law.

And the larger point is that even companies who think they're immune to SOPA may discover otherwise, thanks to the way the bill actually works.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    TechdirtTroll, Dec 27th, 2011 @ 7:39pm

    BLAHBLAHBLAHBLAH ... SOPA ... BLAHBLAHBLAH [nevermind the fact that I didn't even read the article and I can't substantiate anything I say] ... pirate mike, you support piracy and sopa is not going to affect anything legal at all ... it will not be abused only the pirates will be stopped you know .... mike supports piracy because he criticizes sopa and copyright law ... blah blah blah

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2.  
    icon
    Eric Goldman (profile), Dec 27th, 2011 @ 7:39pm

    When rightsowners cut off its cash flow through cutoff notices, I bet SpiderOak will feel differently. Eric.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3.  
    identicon
    Kenneth Michaels, Dec 27th, 2011 @ 8:01pm

    Dajaz1.com

    Yea only illegal sites will be shut down. Just like how DHS/ICE only seized illegal sites. Oh wait DHS/ICE did wrongfully shut down dajaz1 and 84000 other sites. Guess we can't trust anyone who says that only illegal sites will be shut down. Stop SOPA.

     

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  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 27th, 2011 @ 8:17pm

    But encryption will be banned!

    It would seem that the only way to (begin to) enforce PIPA/SOPA will be to ban encryption and indeed privacy. The first thing users will do to get around the DNS blocking is to use alternate DNS servers, which will then be banned, next they will turn to encryption to reach the alternate DNS and so encryption will have to be banned. Notice I say banned rather than outlawed because they might strong arm the ISPs to do it for them rather than straight outlaw it (which would create serious constitutional problems and be even more politically unpopular).

    We are well on our way to a dystopian "Neuromancer" style of Internet!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 27th, 2011 @ 8:28pm

    GNUPGP for me

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6.  
    identicon
    Loki, Dec 27th, 2011 @ 8:29pm

    Re: Dajaz1.com

    I get a special chuckle out of the "what part of 'foreign site' don't you understand" argument, because we've all seen how well that worked in other legislation.

    Although I suppose the "we can't tell you how many American websites we are currently blocking/cutting funding for because it relies on a classified interpretation of SOPA" might be a little harder to pull off when the websites actually disappear.

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 27th, 2011 @ 9:48pm

    I guess it's time to retire.....

    I seriously don't want to spend the next several years of my IT career trying to chase down why the CEO's email didn't make it to the customer because some stupid filter somewhere along the way.

    These people have no clue how many man hours are going to be troubleshooting why legit business info won't make it properly.

    I'm just waiting for the day they start shutting down VPN's between companies because of bogus claims.

    They are gonna pay thru the nose......

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 27th, 2011 @ 10:02pm

    Re: I guess it's time to retire.....

    You do know that this is an argument in favor of the bill under the "creating jobs" label the industry is attaching to it.

     

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  9.  
    identicon
    VMax, Dec 27th, 2011 @ 10:42pm

    Re: Re: I guess it's time to retire.....

    Hey! You may be on to something here.
    Step 1) Make sure SOPA passes
    Step 2) Charge %2000 more to make the net work like it used to.
    Step 3) Use money to lobby for repeal.
    Step 4) PROFIT!!!
    Step 5) Wait 2 years, go back to step 1

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10.  
    icon
    Jay (profile), Dec 27th, 2011 @ 11:07pm

    Re: Re: Dajaz1.com

    Almost like saying the Patriot Act is only used against terrorists...

    Oh wait...

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 27th, 2011 @ 11:38pm

    Re: Re: I guess it's time to retire.....

    It's not value added work.......But you obviously have no clue how manufacturing works.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12.  
    icon
    Violated (profile), Dec 28th, 2011 @ 1:02am

    Rivals

    It is true to say that most business's do not realise how SOPA can be misused and abused to target their business.

    Even more worrying is that the attacker is most likely to be your business rival looking to damage your business for their gain. Your list of business rivals are a lot bigger than you realise. SOPA gives them the bomb where they only need to light the fuse.

    Does that make you happy?

     

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  13.  
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    mike allen (profile), Dec 28th, 2011 @ 1:52am

    This is once again as is pointed out by the "only foreign sites" clause being discussed here, the USA forcing its laws on the world where it really has no rights to do so. I for one if my lagit business is harmed not hesitate to sue the USA for ohhh lets see a figure larger than its national debt.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  14.  
    identicon
    abc gum, Dec 28th, 2011 @ 4:37am

    Re: Re: Re: Dajaz1.com

    Need to use logarithmic scale just to view that graph on one page.

     

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  15.  
    identicon
    abc gum, Dec 28th, 2011 @ 4:40am

    Re: Re: I guess it's time to retire.....

    Good guy Sauron creates millions of jobs

    http://imgur.com/gallery/rOG2p

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  16.  
    identicon
    abc gum, Dec 28th, 2011 @ 4:43am

    Re:

    Or - they could claim, as the US does, that it is an act of war.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 28th, 2011 @ 5:01am

    If SOPA or PIPA passes maybe that is a commerce barrier and can be brought up at the WTO.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 28th, 2011 @ 8:47am

    Re: Re: I guess it's time to retire.....

    If ROI is reduced because more (labor) investment is needed to gain a return do you think this will cause people to invest more or less?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 28th, 2011 @ 8:47am

    Re: Re: Re: I guess it's time to retire.....

    (to gain an equivalent return *)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  20.  
    identicon
    TechdirtTrollolo, Dec 28th, 2011 @ 8:56am

    Re:

    BLAHBLAHBLAHBLAH ... SOPATROLLOLO ... BLAHBLAHBLAH [nevermind that I'm a troll and a moron who can't understand that my civil liberties are under attack lol trololo pirates like parrots. arrgh.]

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 28th, 2011 @ 9:32am

    Re:

    This is once again as is pointed out by the "only foreign sites" clause being discussed here, the USA forcing its laws on the world where it really has no rights to do so. I for one if my lagit business is harmed not hesitate to sue the USA for ohhh lets see a figure larger than its national debt.

    Let us know how that works out for you

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 28th, 2011 @ 9:33am

    Re:

    This is once again as is pointed out by the "only foreign sites" clause being discussed here, the USA forcing its laws on the world where it really has no rights to do so. I for one if my lagit business is harmed not hesitate to sue the USA for ohhh lets see a figure larger than its national debt.

    Let us know how that works out for you

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  23.  
    identicon
    pahosler, Dec 28th, 2011 @ 9:38am

    isn't SOPAPIPA a Mexican confection?

    n/m that's a sopapilla

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  24.  
    icon
    Hephaestus (profile), Dec 28th, 2011 @ 10:56am

    Re:

    I was thinking the same thing.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  25.  
    identicon
    surveyor, Jan 19th, 2012 @ 4:53pm

    it will be

    quite interesting to see how all of this plays out...seems that on some levels noone is immune..

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  26.  
    identicon
    Marcin, Feb 17th, 2012 @ 2:36pm

    Additional free space.

    1. Sign up under a referral link: https://spideroak.com/download/referral/48d0f6684c5fa8cb2b6a460bd6a2429f + 1GB free space (total free space 3GB).

    2. Use COUPON CODE: worldbackupday ( https://spideroak.com/blog/20110330182326-eric-brian-and-world-backup-day-for-everyone ) + 3 GB space (total free space = 6 GB!)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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