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.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
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    Jeff (profile), Dec 15th, 2011 @ 1:19pm

    But they don't count... because they aren't important!

    /sarc

    (Plus they didn't bring bags of cash)

    /sad

     

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    anonymous, Dec 15th, 2011 @ 1:26pm

    '(Plus they didn't bring bags of cash)', this being the operative phrase!

     

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    gorehound (profile), Dec 15th, 2011 @ 1:31pm

    WE Must Fight For Our Rights

    As I stated the time is coming and should be NOW that we all step in to fight for our Rights.Soon we will not have any to speak of and now we have very little left compared to the pre-9/11 days.Maybe even the pre-Reagan Days in the minds of some.
    Little by little it seems our Country is just going downhill not uphill.The SPA/PIPA should be the very last straw we have to put up with.
    Woe to the General Public for they not KNOW AT ALL (because very few News said anything about it) what they don't do.

     

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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Dec 15th, 2011 @ 1:31pm

    Too technical

    Legislators don't need useless things like "facts" or "truth" when making laws--what they need is the biased opinion of lobbyists.

     

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  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 15th, 2011 @ 1:36pm

    "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."

    this would be the same guys who came up with entirely spoofable email, an insecure network system, an insecure DNS system, etc...

    Yup. Good idea! Let's pay attention to the guys who built a nice house but forgot to put in proper plumbing!

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 15th, 2011 @ 1:40pm

      Re:

      So your solution is to make it less secure. Got it.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 15th, 2011 @ 1:44pm

      Re:

      You need to change from AOL

       

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Dec 15th, 2011 @ 2:08pm

      Re:

      "this would be the same guys who came up with entirely spoofable email, an insecure network system, an insecure DNS system, etc..."

      No. This [sic] would be the people that came up with the infrastructure that allows you to post this idiocy.

       

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      abc gum, Dec 15th, 2011 @ 2:09pm

      Re:

      "Let's pay attention to the guys who built a nice house but forgot to put in proper plumbing!"

      and your credentials are .... ?
      Yeah - I didn't think so.

      Before criticizing that which you do not understand, it is advisable to investigate, maybe even educate yourself in the subject matter. Seriously - why is this too much to ask?

       

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        :Lobo Santo (profile), Dec 15th, 2011 @ 2:12pm

        Re: Re: Op(sic) Ed

        It's far easier to have an opinion than an education, apparently.

         

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        TtfnJohn (profile), Dec 15th, 2011 @ 7:11pm

        Re: Re:

        No, this is a troll who likes to toss around accusations, assertions of how much he knows in spite of statements showing how ignorant he really is and generally making a pest of himself.

        He's a continuing bad joke who thinks he's important/funny. But you gotta admit he'd fit right in in the US Congress these days. They're much the same.

         

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      Richard (profile), Dec 15th, 2011 @ 2:48pm

      Re:

      Yup. Good idea! Let's pay attention to the guys who built a nice house but forgot to put in proper plumbing!

      It's easy to criticise people who do things that you can't do isn't it? You sound like the bloke in the bar screaming at the TV because he thinks the sportsmen on the screen aren't doing it right - when he would be a complete joke if he was up there with them.

       

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      Rich Kulawiec, Dec 15th, 2011 @ 3:01pm

      Re:

      There's no question that we made mistakes. A lot of them. No doubt we've made still others that we don't even know are mistakes yet.

      But, y'know, it was our first try. It seems to have done reasonably well for something run -- pretty much -- by consensus. (See David Clark's famous quote about the IETF process: "We reject kings, presidents and voting. We believe in rough consensus and running code.")

      There's plenty of room for improvement. You're welcome to join the process (IETF participation is open to anyone, and certainly you can write any code you wish). Perhaps your ideas and your code will be contributions that push things forward; that'd be great.

      But one bit of advice: there are a lot of very smart, very experienced, very knowledgeable people trying to do just that: push things forward. I know it sometimes doesn't look that way, but it really is the case. So you might want to pause to consider that if progress isn't moving as fast in a certain direction as you might like (or as any of us might like) that maybe, just maybe, there are some awfully good reasons why...and maybe it would be a good idea to understand those reasons in some depth.

       

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      Jamie (profile), Dec 15th, 2011 @ 3:47pm

      Re:

      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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        TtfnJohn (profile), Dec 15th, 2011 @ 7:34pm

        Re: Re:

        In some cases try more than 30 years old. For all that it's remarkably resilient stuff.

        I don't disagree with the central point of your post but for a system that's "broken" it works incredibly well which is a testament to the work they did and are doing.

        Nor do I disagree that SOPA/PIPA will take an uncomfortable, at times, situation and really, really make it broken.

        And this sort of thing is never completed. To think so would be foolish. You only find these things over time and when usage increases in ways you never dreamed possible or had nightmares about. ;-)

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 15th, 2011 @ 4:47pm

      Re:

      You also realise that this was what allowed you to sue children, grandmothers, homeless people, dead people, lizards and printers, right?

       

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    Ima Fish (profile), Dec 15th, 2011 @ 1:36pm

    "Perhaps they should have held a hearing that included some of these people"

    It sounds like you want Congress to pass laws based upon objective facts and reasoned criteria rather than on how much election campaign money will be donated. I won't hold my breath waiting for that.

     

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    Pixelation, Dec 15th, 2011 @ 1:43pm

    Please?

    Hey Mike, I love the site but can you limit the articles on SOPA to 1/day or less? You could also start a sister site, Sopadirt.

     

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      Rikuo (profile), Dec 15th, 2011 @ 1:49pm

      Re: Please?

      Sorry, for a second there, I coulda sworn you were his editor or something. Why should Mike limit his SOPA articles?

       

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        Pixelation, Dec 15th, 2011 @ 2:15pm

        Re: Re: Please?

        There are a lot of other things going on in the Tech world. 4 articles today plus a couple of others that mention SOPA seems excessive. I think SOPA is a bad idea too.

        It's just a request.

         

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          Mike Masnick (profile), Dec 15th, 2011 @ 5:39pm

          Re: Re: Re: Please?

          There are a lot of other things going on in the Tech world. 4 articles today plus a couple of others that mention SOPA seems excessive.

          There's a lot happening today. Last month when we did a full day on SOPA I then asked the community how they felt about it and it was almost universally appreciated. So... considering the markup today, it seems reasonable again.

           

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      abc gum, Dec 15th, 2011 @ 2:12pm

      Re: Please?

      If sopa pipa passes, there will be no techdirt to read.
      Duh

       

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      Dave P, Dec 16th, 2011 @ 12:00pm

      Re: Please?

      I'm in the UK and am keeping a very attentive eye on all SOPA news, as it could indirectly affect all of us, so I am quite happy (sort of!) to read all reports of what's happening in this direction. My blunt opinion (for what it's worth) is that it stinks.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 15th, 2011 @ 1:48pm

    It is not nearly enough to oppose SOPA & Protect IP. Even if defeated, they will just come back in another name until they pass.

    Your votes are necessary but NOT sufficient. Not even close.

    Two things are needed:

    1. Money. Pledge and follow-thru on donations to the opponents of those who vote for this crap.

    2. Go on the offensive. A purely defensive fight is what we have been doing - that is clearly NOT enough. Lobby ($$$ again) for the end of Civil Forfeiture, Severe rollback of copyrights (including for The Mouse), Repeal of the DMCA, serious penalties for false copyright claims, etc... Attack, not defense.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 15th, 2011 @ 1:52pm

      Re:

      Don't forget to feed the aliens living in your closet.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 15th, 2011 @ 7:22pm

      Re:

      No, that also won't work, we need to take the debate outside of congress and to the public.

      The public must start reading and participating in a public forum where all laws are public and anyone can make proposals.

      Then lobby becomes less important since they can't showered money on everyone to get what they want, the problem is that there is a bottleneck in the power and that is representatives, take that away and democracy starts to become something useful to all.

      Instead of voting for some dude, people then can vote for the issues.

       

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    wallow-T, Dec 15th, 2011 @ 2:08pm

    thots on twitter coverage

    Here's my two cents on today's twitter coverage of the hearing.

    The members of Congress who favor SOPA have decided that the Internet is a land and a people in need of collective punishment due to rampant copyright infringement.
    (The big corporations were at this point of view years ago: thus the love of Chinese blocking tactics.)

    The members who favor this proposal have decided that all of the technical people, and all of the users, who speak against SOPA are part of the unruly population who deserve collective punishment. So, we are not going to be listened to.

    If the Internet is neutered into Super Cable TV with 2000 channels of corporate-approved content, that would be just fine with the members supporting SOPA: to their view, that would not be breaking the Internet.

    The big content corporations, AND the corporations which own the last mile of Internet-cable-to-the-home, would be fine with neutering the Internet into Super Cable TV with 2000 channels. That's a business they understand and control.

    To Big Content, the Internet-as-we-know-it has always been acceptable collateral damage. Breaking the open, collaborative Internet is not a bug of SOPA, it's a feature.

     

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      abc gum, Dec 15th, 2011 @ 2:15pm

      Re: thots on twitter coverage

      "Super Cable TV with 2000 channels of corporate-approved content,"

      Small problem they may not have considered ... who in their right mind would pay for such drivel?

       

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      TtfnJohn (profile), Dec 15th, 2011 @ 7:42pm

      Re: thots on twitter coverage

      Actually the folks owning the "last mile" connections, well the accountants anyway, might be okay with it but I can assure you their engineers and technicians are anything but on technical grounds alone.

      And as most own and sell cable and/or satellite anyway the accountants won't be too happy when customers decide to ditch on of the suddenly duplicated services!

       

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      TtfnJohn (profile), Dec 15th, 2011 @ 7:49pm

      Re: thots on twitter coverage

      Oh, and to defend at least one of the last mile owners, the telcos, telcos understand networking and the internet. Quite intimately. Almost all modern switches run TCP/IP internally under Linux and then send the information on data streams off the the next switch down the line that way.

      Telco's are also responsible for a lot of the backbone infrastructure of the Internet and would prefer that it stay unbroken. Well, except of the accounatcritters who only understand a spreadsheet.

      Or convert to voice to sent the ring generator to your house to ring your phone so you can get to listen to spam calls or the messages it leaves.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 15th, 2011 @ 2:39pm

    Here's what's hilarious about SOPA:

    In the next 5 years or so, we'll have wireless network technology that can cover several square miles with a single router/antenna. That means covering an entire city with a single router. But it also means that it will be feasible for common citizens to set up their own Internet gateway. Or better yet: to have a truly distributed "Internet", connected wirelessly, that is, a network of personal computers connected over (very) wide area network.

    Think LAN, but with hundreds or thousands of machines. This, coupled with distributed DNS completely neuters SOPA's censorship mechanism: you can't censor something that has thousands of copies of itself everywhere.

    This is why I am not worried. Technology will win in the end. The Internet was the single greatest gift humanity has received. We can't just toss it away because some technophobe thinks we should.

     

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      The eejit (profile), Dec 15th, 2011 @ 3:43pm

      Re:

      But apparently, they can with a huge pile of money (even if there'll be nothing to spend it on but drival, shit and a shovel).

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Dec 15th, 2011 @ 8:00pm

        Re: Re:

        I see this as survival of the fittest.
        They try something, people adapt, they try again and people adapt again and they keep trying the first one that comes short on ideas loses.

        With 7 billion brains out there on the side of freedom I think we have better odds at giving back whatever we get.

        Search engines can be distributed if it need be, it has some shortcomings at the moment like no way of sorting those things because it would take a very long time but it can be distributed, webpages can be distributed, storage can be distributed everything in fact can be decentralized, people will just create a new layer on top of the old and bury them.

        YaCy (distributed search engine pronounced ya-see)
        Osiris SPS (Distributed webhosting)
        Bitcoin (distribute payment system)

        See all the pieces are coming together to form the foundations of a new layer.

        The rise of Darknets is coming.

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 15th, 2011 @ 4:01pm

    I searched through that list and I didn't find Al Gore anywhere. Obviously these people are unimportant hacks.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 15th, 2011 @ 4:02pm

    Journalist built the Internet?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 15th, 2011 @ 4:15pm

    Rep Watt doesn't believe engineers

    Separately, a who's who list of 83 internet engineers has come out against SOPA.


    Internet engineers can't influence North Carolina's Representative Mel Watt. He doesn't believe them.

    From Wired's Threat Level:
    Rep. Mel Watt (D-North Carolina) said he was not a technological “nerd,” but said he did not “believe” security experts who said that the internet would become less secure unless Issa’s amendment was adopted. “I’m not a person to argue about the technology of this,” Watt said before he voted against the amendment. Issa’s amendment failed 22-12.

     

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      The eejit (profile), Dec 16th, 2011 @ 12:19am

      Re: Rep Watt doesn't believe engineers

      Then Don't fucking force others to do it for you. For all that the GOP are about BOOTSTRAPS economically, some of these people have NO CLUE WHATSOEVER about what they are regulating.

      Also note that SOPA and PROIP are being debated on TODAY, the last day before Congress officialy recesses for the holidays. Typical desperation tactic - get it done before anyone can do anything about it.

       

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