The 18 Senators Who Approve Breaking The Internet To Protect Hollywood

from the not-cool dept

Last fall, we noted that the Senate Judiciary Committee had unanimously voted to approve COICA, a bill for censoring the internet as a favor to the entertainment industry. Thankfully, Senator Ron Wyden stepped up and blocked COICA from progressing. This year, COICA has been replaced by the PROTECT IP Act, which fixes some of the problems of COICA, but introduces significant other problems as well. A wide cross section of people who actually understand technology and innovation have come out against PROTECT IP as written — including librarians, human rights groups, public interest groups (pdf) and various technology groups (pdf), including CEA, CCIA and NetCoalition. Most significantly, a group of internet/DNS specialists have made a strong case that this would break the internet in significant ways:

  • The U.S. Government and private industry have identified Internet security and stability as a key part of a wider cyber security strategy, and if implemented, the DNS related provisions of PROTECT IP would weaken this important commitment. DNS filters would be evaded easily, and would likely prove ineffective at reducing online infringement. Further, widespread circumvention would threaten the security and stability of the global DNS.

  • The DNS provisions would undermine the universality of domain names, which has been one of the key enablers of the innovation, economic growth, and improvements in communications and information access unleashed by the global Internet.
  • Migration away from ISP-provided DNS servers would harm efforts that rely on DNS data to detect and mitigate security threats and improve network performance.
  • Dependencies within the DNS would pose significant risk of collateral damage, with filtering of one domain potentially affecting users’ ability to reach non-infringing Internet content.
  • The site redirection envisioned in Section 3(d)(II)(A)(ii) is inconsistent with security extensions to the DNS that are known as DNSSEC.
  • The U.S. Government and private industry have identified DNSSEC as a key part of a wider cyber security strategy, and many private, military, and governmental networks have invested in DNSSEC technologies.
  • If implemented, this section of the PROTECT IP Act would weaken this important effort to improve Internet security. It would enshrine and institutionalize the very network manipulation that DNSSEC must fight in order to prevent cyberattacks and other malevolent behavior on the global Internet, thereby exposing networks and users to increased security and privacy risks.

So, with the people who actually understand this stuff pointing out that PROTECT IP would break the internet and go against various stated important priorities for the internet, you would think that the Senate Judiciary Committee might hold off before moving forward with such a poorly thought out bill.

But, you know, the Hollywood lobbyists want it. So, let’s just ignore the people who actually understand this stuff and give Hollywood what they want.

This morning the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously voted to move forward with PROTECT IP as is. It seems only fair to once again name the Senators who just voted (with a voice vote) to break the internet. Here’s your list of technologically ignorant lawmakers of the day:

  • Patrick J. Leahy — Vermont
  • Herb Kohl — Wisconsin
  • Jeff Sessions — Alabama
  • Dianne Feinstein — California
  • Orrin G. Hatch — Utah
  • Richard Blumenthal — Connecticut
  • Chuck Grassley — Iowa
  • Michael Lee — Utah
  • Jon Kyl — Arizona
  • Chuck Schumer — New York
  • Lindsey Graham — South Carolina
  • Dick Durbin — Illinois
  • John Cornyn — Texas
  • Tom Coburn — Oklahoma
  • Sheldon Whitehouse — Rhode Island
  • Amy Klobuchar — Minnesota
  • Al Franken — Minnesota
  • Chris Coons — Delaware

Update: Oops. Pulled last year’s list. Just corrected, removing Feingold, Specter and Cardin and adding in Lee and Blumenthal. Sorry, that was a dumb mistake.

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Comments on “The 18 Senators Who Approve Breaking The Internet To Protect Hollywood”

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hegemon13 says:

Leahy is a hypocrite

Apparently, it’s okay to grant unconstitutional powers to the government, as long as it benefits Hollywood. Within a few days hours, he loses the respect I had for his opposition to National Security Letters earlier this week. Clearly, it was neither the people, nor the Constitution that he was worried about.

pixelpusher220 (profile) says:

Re: Re: Talk about unconstitutional

Sen. Wyden has released a statement saying he will place a hold on PROTECT IP as well.

Josh in CharlotteNC (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Masnick got so upset about civil rights violating unconstitutional legislation that in his rush to inform the public, he cut and paste the wrong list.


Break the internet?

I suppose you know more about DNS than a group of people who work with it every day for a living?

Authors: Steve Crocker, Shinkuro, Inc.
David Dagon, Georgia Tech
Dan Kaminsky, DKH
Danny McPherson, Verisign, Inc.
Paul Vixie, Internet Systems Consortium

Your credentials? Put up or shut up.

Raphael (profile) says:

This comment does not exist.

I think this bill is [content filtered for national security reasons]. I also think that [content filtered for trademark reasons] is [content filtered for possible defamation reasons] and [content filtered for possible defamation reasons].

Basically, what I mean is that if we don’t [content filtered for national security reasons] we’ll end up [content filtered for national security reasons] unless we immediately start [content filtered for national security reasons] with the services provided by [content filtered for copyright reasons].

Jeff says:

Re: Re:

I missed a free lunch??!?! Oh noes!!! Where’d my free lunch goooooooo???????

I’m sure you will be a good little soldier in the “War against Free Lunches”, and line all of us freeloaders up against the wall to be shot. It is because of jackwagons such as yourself that we the people (sheeple) are steadily losing our 1st and 4th amendment rights to the corporate jackbooted thugocracy our once great and powerful nation has become. Enjoy your smug attitude while it lasts – they will be coming for you next…

codeslave (profile) says:


Who needs the opinions of experts when lobbyists have truckloads of cash to hand out?

Public financing of elections, blind trusts for their personal wealth and strict bans on hiring family members of politicians, lobbying by former politicians, or politicians retiring to join companies whom they had previously written laws governing (and the reverse, getting elected to assist your current employer) would help put a stop to some of this. There’s way too much money and personal enrichment in US politics.

Buck Lateral says:

It’s fun watching Masnick degenerate into maniacal nerd rage. I also love the dismissive comments about routing around this “speedbump” of a law, against the backdrop of hysterical warnings over “breaking the internet.”

This is why serious policy people who oppose this bill pretend they don’t know who Masnick is. He’s nuttier than squirrel shit on this issue and has the same political gravitas as the Larouche people or the group who warned the world would end on May 21st. Keep up the ravings though, it’s great cut-and-paste fodder to send lawmakers to brief them on the position of opponents to the bill- and to give them a good laugh at Masnick’s expense.

I can hardly wait for cloture. Masnick will give new credence to the spontaneous human combustion people after he fulminates himself aflame.

Anonymous Coward says:

Route Around Damage

If the top of the DNS hierarchy is being interfered with by the US government, then that constitutes damage. It does not matter what batty reason the US government may be giving for its vandalism. It is happening and it is not going to stop.

The solution is to establish an independent top of the DNS hierarchy outside of US jurisdiction. It may reasonably be assumed that any jurisdiction which finds itself in possession of the top of the DNS hierarchy will attempt similar bad behavior as the US government. Venal politicians exist worldwide. Therefore, it needs to be a distributed system, capable of being moved from jurisdiction to jurisdiction at a moment’s notice.

The organization in charge has to assume it is going to be under attack at all times, like the Pirate Bay or Wikileaks. It needs to plan accordingly.

Once an independent top of the DNS hierarchy exists, then the rest of the world can point their DNS resolvers at the new service and the US government can do as it pleases, without inconveniencing the rest of the world. Shame about the US residents, though, most of them will be stuck with the broken version of the DNS. The smart ones will be able to get out of it, but not poor old grandma.

KenF (user link) says:

Another Law Written by People who Barely Understand Computers

You know, I see about 4-5 of these ?Good Ideas? come across the wire each year. The real issue is most of this legislation is pre-written by special interest for special interest (RE: RIAA). I have an idea, let?s ask a panel of industry and government IT leaders (note the IT part) to collaborate on a series of distinctions (regulations) and Laws (enforcement) that categorize content, place the ownership of illegal content identification on the content owners (where it belongs), and make blatant thief of copy written materials illegal. This would be an updated series of laws that supersede the Digital Millennium act and address the current sharing, fair-use, and transmission issues people are facing. We should absolutely hold the actual people responsible for theft of content accountable, not the hosts of websites or network provider they traverse.

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