Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Why is Wikipedia Blacked out? SOPA/PIPA

Wikipedia is blocked today.

Google has a black box over its name.

Proboards and Tumblr feature pop-ups talking about the issue.

But why? From the messages on facebook wondering why Wiki is blocked, I can tell that very few people are actually clicking the links that these websites are providing. And that's a shame because SOPA and PIPA are very real and need to be understood. While SOPA has currently been stalled, PIPA is still ongoing. And PIPA is just as dangerous.

As Tumblr's info pop up states it:

As written, PIPA would import censorship and surveillance techniques pioneered by countries like China and Iran, reversing longstanding U.S. policy on Internet freedom, betraying U.S. First Amendment values, damaging our standing around the world, threatening our job-creating innovators, and undermining Internet security for everyone.

This isn't saying that the passing of this bill is going to automatically take away our rights and turn us into China or Iran. However the wording and permissions it grants are opening very dangerous back doors that allow far too much possibility of many websites being forced to close down without due process of the law.

In an open letter to congress, Neil Gaiman and other artists, writers, musicians and filmmakers state it this way:

We fear that the broad new enforcement powers provided under SOPA and PIPA could be easily abused against legitimate services like those upon which we depend. These bills would allow entire websites to be blocked without due process, causing collateral damage to the legitimate users of the same services - artists and creators like us who would be censored as a result.

We are deeply concerned that PIPA and SOPA's impact on piracy will be negligible compared to the potential damage that would be caused to legitimate Internet services. Online piracy is harmful and it needs to be addressed, but not at the expense of censoring creativity, stifling innovation or preventing the creation of new, lawful digital distribution methods.

(Read the full letter here)

I don't claim to be an expert, but since the first hearings started last fall I have been gravely concerned about this bill and strongly feel all internet users should take the time to become informed about it.


Maria(Rose) said...

Big Brother is watching. Communism is on the way, pray that it is stopped.

Psmith said...

I had thought SOPA and PIPA were about something else. Thank you for the explination.