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[ NNSquad ] More SOPA insanity: "Goodlatte Amendment" is a technical joke

More SOPA insanity: "Goodlatte Amendment" is a technical joke
http://j.mp/s7NcCB  (This message on Google+)

 - - -

In the flurry of recent SOPA (H.R. 3261) activity, you may not have noticed
that the "Goodlatte Amendment" apparently passed 22-5 in the House
Judiciary Committee.

http://j.mp/u1AXBv  (U.S. House [PDF])

Apparently intended to assure that SOPA-based takedowns don't affect 
entire sites when only part of a site is condemned as "infringing,"
there just one little problem -- it can't possibly work in most
technical contexts!

While it could be applied to the SOPA-mandated censorship of search
engine results -- meaning that only specific designated URL results
would be removed, not entire sites if parts of sites were not
on the death list -- in the other SOPA aspects the concept is entirely

Why?  Keep in mind that SOPA primarily mandates the use of the 
Domain Name System (DNS) as a censorship mechanism.  But DNS only
operates at the domain level, not at the underlying specific URL
level.  You can't use DNS to block access to:


but allow access to:


You can only try to block house.gov -- the entire domain -- via DNS.

Now, if SOPA were viewed as extending to *all* Web hosting providers
and ISPs, URL-specific censorship would become technically possible,
though even ISPs using DPI (Deep Packet Inspection) techniques could
be stymied by use of encrypted connections.

So either the politicos are getting extremely poor technical advice
(perhaps none at all of any consequence relating to reality) or this
amendment is likely a smokescreen -- an attempt to say that SOPA will
be minimally invasive at the URL level, when the mandated DNS blocking
can only work at the level of entire domains.

But of course when dealing with putrid nightmares like SOPA, why
should we expect anything to make any sense at all?

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
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