We've already discussed what a dreadful bill the "Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act," (COICA) bill
would be. It's an effort to censor the internet without due process
. As we recently discussed, similar laws in the past would have banned
pretty much every new entertainment technology in the past century.
And yet... this bill has a lot of political clout behind it and it's moving fast (even as the bill's main sponsors are speaking out against censorship
in other countries, they support it at home). Unfortunately, there really hasn't been that much open discussion about the bill. Supporters seem to think it's a foregone conclusion that it will pass, and it's moving quickly (it's schedule for a vote in committee this week). Senators who are supporting the bill have claimed that they've heard no objections to the bill
, despite the widespread discussions online about how problematic it is.
As it moves forward, some people, who recognize the problems with it, are speaking out. The EFF, for example, is looking for techies who have been involved in building the original internet's infrastructure to sign onto a protest letter
. Separately, as part of an effort to get people to sign a petition against COICA
, World Wide Web creator Tim Berners-Lee has spoken out against COICA:
"We all use the web now for all kinds of parts our lives, some trivial, some critical to our life as part of a social world," says Tim Berners-Lee, creator of the Web. "In the spirit going back to Magna Carta, we require a principle that: No person or organization shall be deprived of their ability to connect to others at will without due process of law, with the presumption of innocence until found guilty. Neither governments nor corporations should be allowed to use disconnection from the Internet as a way of arbitrarily furthering their own aims."
I'm never sure how effective online petitions are, but no matter what, it's important to get the word out about this bill. We should not stand for censorship in the US. Apparently over 20,000 people signed the petition in the first day it was available, and it would be great to get a lot more involved. This is bad and supremely dangerous legislation that has been fast-tracked, much to the delight of those who don't realize how destructive it would be.