NNSquad - Network Neutrality Squad

NNSquad Home Page

NNSquad Mailing List Information


[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[ NNSquad ] Congress Declares War on the Global Internet - Internet Replies "Bring It On!"

 Congress Declares War on the Global Internet - Internet Replies "Bring It On!"


In my previous posting "The Coming Fascist Internet" 
( http://j.mp/uc70Lp [Lauren's Blog] ), I explained how government 
moves to control and censor the Internet, including hypocritically 
by the U.S. -- are pointing to an Internet future that can quite 
reasonably be equated with fascism.  Strong words I know, 
but unfortunately true ones.

If you needed more proof, you only needed to observe today's
Congressional hearing on SOPA (Stop Online Privacy Act), which was
much more akin to a lynch mob, or a scene from dictator's kangaroo
court, than a honest attempt to explore the issues.

The hearing was stacked with SOPA proponents whose goal is simple --
get the entire Internet around the world under the boot of
U.S.-ordered censorship and total control.

The only real anti-SOPA witness the House Judiciary Committee
permitted was Katherine Oyama of Google, and the Committee overall
treated her with the kind of unfairness and contempt that make
everyday bullies and criminals look like rank amateurs 
( http://j.mp/vE5ba6 [ars technica] ).

It was a disgusting display by Congress, and a clear signal of how our
leaders (from both parties) are hellbent on destroying Internet
freedoms as we know them today.

If this all weren't so deadly serious, there would almost be comical
aspects.  The MPAA, faced with complaints that SOPA (and the similar
legislation on the Senate side -- PIPA [PROTECT IP]) would break
DNSSEC, merrily suggested that it simply should be rewritten so that
government censorship orders could be easily implemented.

That the MPAA would make asinine comments like that is actually easy
to understand.  After all, they view the entire world as simply a film
script to be sent out for rewrites on demand.  And since their real
goal (along with various of their brethren) is to rewrite technology
to protect their traditional profit centers -- civil rights be 
damned -- we should not be surprised when they treat the entire planet like
extras to be ordered around like slaves.

So Congress wants to declare War.  Judging from my email, the Internet
is champing at the bit for battle.

I have never before seen such a flood of messages ranging from "I'm
terrified for our future" to "What can we do?" to "Here are my ideas
for fighting back."

It's certain that this war could bring with it many causalities.
Network fragmentation in various forms is an obvious example, since
the rest of the world seems unwilling (surprise!) to allow the U.S. to
keep dictating Internet policy forever, especially when the U.S. want
to use its skewed control over the DNS (Domain Name System) as a
judge, jury, and executioner baton to beat other countries'
sensibilities to a pulp.

All manner of "workarounds" to such censorship are being proposed,
many extremely intriguing, most of which would actually be illicit
under the anti-circumvention provisions of SOPA.  There's been a
massive increase in queries regarding my proposed distributed Internet
naming system (IDONS), but this is a long-term proposal, not a weapon
for the immediate battles at hand ( http://j.mp/h7T2gF [Lauren's Blog] ).

Still, it is apparent that if Congress proceeds along their current
path of trying to dictatorially censor sites, search engines, and
other aspects of Internet operations, they will be setting loose the
technological dogs of war in ways that are beyond the scope of their
darkest nightmares, and that make "Anonymous" and the "Occupy"
movement look like fleas on an elephant by comparison.

That isn't a threat.  It's a prediction.  It's a prediction made with
the hope (though admittedly not the expectation) that Congress will
step back from the precipice that leads to the destruction of the
Internet in the form that has brought freedom of communication to the
world, to a degree and in manners never before imagined.

Congress' approach to dealing with the issues of piracy is to
figuratively use hydrogen bombs as a palliative measure -- cities
reduced to rubble won't have much of a piracy problem.

But in the real world of the Net, the technological means to fight
such a war are remarkably well distributed among Internet users at
large.  It seems as if the Congressional push for SOPA/PIPA reveals an
utter cluelessness by Congress regarding what is actually about to be

If Congress really wants to go to war against the Internet, they'll
have their war.  But it will be like nothing the world has ever seen
before.  You can count on it.

Lauren Weinstein (lauren@vortex.com): http://www.vortex.com/lauren 
Co-Founder: People For Internet Responsibility: http://www.pfir.org 
 - Network Neutrality Squad: http://www.nnsquad.org 
 - Global Coalition for Transparent Internet Performance: http://www.gctip.org
 - PRIVACY Forum: http://www.vortex.com 
Member: ACM Committee on Computers and Public Policy
Blog: http://lauren.vortex.com 
Google+: http://vortex.com/g+lauren 
Twitter: https://twitter.com/laurenweinstein 
Tel: +1 (818) 225-2800 / Skype: vortex.com