Journalists And Key Engineers Who Built The Internet: Completely Opposed To SOPA

from the as-they-should-be dept

Another day, and another group of influential folks have come out against SOPA. First up, the more surprising one: the American Society of News Editors (ASNE), a large group of journalists and editors have spoken out against the bill. And these are people who SOPA supporters are including in their list of the "copyright intensive industries" and yet they don't want this bill, because they know it'll increase liability for doing what they do every day.

Separately, a who's who list of 83 internet engineers has come out against SOPA. This is basically everyone who built the core infrastructure that the internet is based on, and they're not at all comfortable with the bill. That should say something. Remember the House's SOPA hearing that didn't have a single technical expert on the panel? Perhaps they should have held a hearing that included some of these people, who all seem very opposed to the bill.
Censorship of Internet infrastructure will inevitably cause network errors and security problems. This is true in China, Iran and other countries that censor the network today; it will be just as true of American censorship. It is also true regardless of whether censorship is implemented via the DNS, proxies, firewalls, or any other method. Types of network errors and insecurity that we wrestle with today will become more widespread, and will affect sites other than those blacklisted by the American government.

The current bills -- SOPA explicitly and PIPA implicitly -- also threaten engineers who build Internet systems or offer services that are not readily and automatically compliant with censorship actions by the U.S. government. When we designed the Internet the first time, our priorities were reliability, robustness and minimizing central points of failure or control. We are alarmed that Congress is so close to mandating censorship-compliance as a design requirement for new Internet innovations. This can only damage the security of the network, and give authoritarian governments more power over what their citizens can read and publish.

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  1. icon
    Jamie (profile), 15 Dec 2011 @ 3:47pm


    The technologies in use today are often more than 20 years old. They existed back in the days when the Internet was used mostly by academics and research facilities. They continue to be used because, aside from the flaws, they still work fairly well.

    Now that we're seeing more and more parties trying to abuse these technologies, the engineers are trying to come up with a more robust solution. This takes a lot of time, because you need to try and think of all the ways that malicious parties may try to break the proposed technologies. Any new system that is decided on also takes a lot of time to roll out, as there are billions of internet-connected devices that may be affected.

    The engineers know the system is broken, and are trying to fix it. Idiotic laws like PIPA/SOPA will stop those efforts dead in their tracks, by legislatively introducing the sorts of failures that the new systems are trying to prevent.

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