CEO Says SOPA & CISPA Are Needed Because A Disgruntled Customer Once Set Up A Parody Site To Mock Him

from the seriously? dept

The Washington Post is running a rather bizarre op-ed piece from a guy who runs an "internet marketing"/SEO business in which he argues that we need SOPA and CISPA because someone once set up a parody page mocking his business -- something that this guy, Kenneth Wisnefski claims is "an attack":
But after enduring two online attacks to my companies' reputation and databases, I've come to the conclusion that the protection businesses would get from the legislation is worth sacrificing privacy.

About a year ago, my company WebiMax was attacked by a person who stole our logo, created a mock Web site and misappropriated our tagline — Experience, Integrity, Results. He changed it to: "No experience, lack of integrity, no results." He posted commentary about WebiMax that was false and painted a negative image of us.

We got a preliminary injunction and the hosting company pulled it down. Three months later it popped back up on a hosting company in Ireland that works beyond the boundaries of the law. We believe we would not be going through this if the SOPA measure were in effect.
First of all, a parody page is not "an attack." Second, setting up a parody page is not "stealing" your logo. It's just making a copy of it. Most importantly, it's hard to see how there's a trademark issue here, because no one would see that page and get confused. Many, many such "sucks sites" have been deemed perfectly legal when it comes to trademark infringement. Now, there may possibly have been a defamation issue -- depending on what was stated on the website -- but neither SOPA nor CISPA deal with defamation. So, no, the laws would not have helped at all.

From there, he goes on to talk about how in a different company, someone hacked into the company's database and retrieved credit card info. Because of that, he thinks CISPA makes perfect sense, even if it means that the government might get to read his email:
Opponents of the measures raise the privacy concerns stemming from the government’s proposed authority to monitor online activity and shut down Web sites that violate copyright laws.

I agree with that sentiment. I’d hate to have someone from the government reading my e-mails, too. But the reality is the protection the measures could offer businesses are worth the sacrifice in privacy to prevent another worst-case scenario.
Except... having credit card info your company stored exposed has little to do with CISPA. At the very least, it sounds like someone should have followed much better payment database security techniques... such as encrypting the information. That kind of info is widely available to anyone and has absolutely nothing to do with CISPA. If CISPA was in effect when he had that same database setup, it would have done nothing to have prevented the hacking or to help anyone track down who did it.

I fail to see how "the protection measures" are "worth the sacrifice to privacy" when they wouldn't have actually helped in either of the cases he mentioned. And, of course, anyone who thinks privacy and security are "trade-offs" doesn't seem to know enough about either thing. As the slight paraphrase to the old Ben Franklin quote says, "those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither."

Filed Under: cispa, defamation, kenneth wisnefski, parody, privacy, sopa
Companies: webimax

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  1. icon
    Jeremy Lyman (profile), 30 May 2012 @ 7:58am

    I'm thinking the parody site might have had a more accurate version of this guy's tagline. Any argument that wants to throw citizens' rights under the bus in exchange for tenuous promises of security for corporations is going to be a tough sell for me.

    I don't think any of us signed up for "A government of the People, by the People and for Gigantic Faceless Corporations".

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