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Censorship Government The Internet

SOPA Protests 'Poisoned the Well,' Says Congressional Staffer 330

Posted by Soulskill
from the well-was-already-pretty-toxic dept.
Techdirt has a story about statements from Congressional staffer Stephanie Moore, who had some interesting — and somewhat insulting — things to say about the 'net-wide protests against the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). "Netizens poisoned the well, and as a result the reliability of the internet is at risk," she said. Moore went on, "Congress was criticized for not being tech savvy, but from a lot of the comments we got it became clear that the people who were calling us did not understand the bill any better than we did." The article also points out comments from Steve Metalitz, a lawyer who represents members of the entertainment industry: "Most countries in the world already have this option at their disposal to deal with this problem. If site blocking broke the internet, then the internet would already be broken."
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SOPA Protests 'Poisoned the Well,' Says Congressional Staffer

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  • Translation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Stirling Newberry (848268) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @08:23AM (#40420207) Homepage Journal
    The protests ruined the staffer's lobbying gig that is on the other side of the revolving door.
    • Re:Translation (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Kergan (780543) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @08:48AM (#40420297)

      The lawyer's comment is particularly funny, too. Most countries in the world already have the option at their disposal because, duh, they censor all sorts of things anyway.

      • Re:Translation (Score:4, Interesting)

        by TapeCutter (624760) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @10:12AM (#40420645) Journal
        Their lawyers say that no matter what country they are speaking about, so do their press releases, and their lobbyists, the only surprising thing is how many slashdotter's believe them. Really, I've lost count of the number of people who have told me Australia actually has "a great firewall" and if I try and set them straight they will argue the point with me from their basement in Texas.
        • Re:Translation (Score:5, Informative)

          by fliptout (9217) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @10:27AM (#40420721) Homepage

          Basements are not common in Texas, fyi.

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Neither is informed thinking.

          • Correct. It would have been much more accurate to say "[...] and if I try and set them straight they will argue the point with me from their double-wide in Texas."
      • Re:Translation (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @10:29AM (#40420737)

        You mean this part?

        The article also points out comments from Steve Metalitz, a lawyer who represents members of the entertainment industry: "Most countries in the world already have this option at their disposal to deal with this problem. If site blocking broke the internet, then the internet would already be broken."

        In that case, if site blocking were effective in preventing piracy then surely these activities would already be measurably and very clearly falling in all those other unspecified countries that have that form of censorship.

        That said, I don't think this is a completely black-and-white issue. A lot of people object to censorship of some/all kinds of speech on principle or feel that blocking is overkill for an activity such as copying a piece of information. However, probably many of the same people would not object to shutting off a command/control site for malware that was bringing down millions of PCs at a staggering economic cost, or to isolating a group who really were trading child porn. Fundamentally, on a technical level, either someone has the ability to block sites or they don't, but on an ethical level it isn't even close to that simple.

        • Re:Translation (Score:5, Interesting)

          by DarkOx (621550) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @11:36AM (#40421163) Journal

          There is a difference between blocking site that is serving malware and blocking one that is pushing an unpopular political idea, displaying images some consider art, or exposing some objectionable behavior by others or similar. In the case of malware the site is part of scheme to illegally convert another persons property for the operators own use.

          The thing is the government CAN shut those sites down already and they don't need SOPA to do it. They simply have to gather enough evidence to get a court order to do it. Then they have to conduct some proceeding where the site owner gets to argue they were not doing anything wrong where they state must prove they were; they same SHOULD hold true for sites engaged in distributing intellectual property they don't control.

          Nobody I have ever talked to seriously objects the idea the government can shut down a website, when its being used directly in what appears to be some form of crime, and there is enough evidence to support that claim to get warrant from a judge, and its on a TEMPORARY TENTATIVE basis pending the outcome a fair legal proceeding.

          What SOPA is about is depriving site operators their rights to due process of law, and reducing it to someone in the executive branch can pull your site at any time for any reason without review, and with little or no possibility of appeal. Which is NOT HOW THIS COUNTRY IS SUPPOSED TO WORK!

        • Re:Translation (Score:5, Interesting)

          by AngryDeuce (2205124) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @11:41AM (#40421199)

          However, probably many of the same people would not object to shutting off a command/control site for malware that was bringing down millions of PCs at a staggering economic cost, or to isolating a group who really were trading child porn.

          The problem isn't the "censorship" per se (at least, not in my opinion), it's the ridiculous lack of probable cause and due process surrounding this shit. The Jotform takedown was a perfect example of how all of our fears regarding SOPA were completely justifiable [itworld.com]. There should be public hearings before the government is able to declare something a "danger" and knock it off the 'net. The way it's handled now is totally against the spirit of the law and the concept of innocence until proven guilt. Outside of Freedom of Speech (which this SOPA shit directly undermined), and the guarantee of security of our person and property (which the TSA is doing everything it can to eliminate), that's probably one of the most sacred foundations of our entire fucking existence as a nation.

          Kind of undermines all of our posturing about security and freedom while we're bombing villages in the middle east back into the stone age when we're playing the same fucking games we bitch about with our own citizens here at home. What I want to know is if the people condoning this bullshit are evil or just plain ignorant...it would save me the time trying to logically converse with them, at the very least.

      • Re:Translation (Score:5, Insightful)

        by lightknight (213164) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @03:25PM (#40422597) Homepage

        Exactly. Saying it works in Somalia, and needs to be brought immediately to the US, because 'it works there,' is a far cry from an endorsement.

        But more importantly, is the understanding of 'If site blocking broke the internet, then the internet would already be broken,' which again, shows the utter cluelessness of this bill's proponents. These are the people, I remind you, who f*cked with compact discs and the error correction technology, because they woefully believed it would somehow prevent end-users from copying them; and in doing so, made it so one little scratch renders the disc unreadable. They managed to defeat the intrinsic error-correction scheme that is a part of the compact disc's spec, and screw over many of their customers to boot.

        Their understanding of technology is super-bad. They are like my younger brother, whose lack of understanding of networking does not prevent him from plugging a network cable from the LAN into the WAN port of any item with a DHCP server, thus kicking everyone off the network. The only thing they are accomplishing with their mad schemes is f*cking up the internet, turning what was once a thriving ecosystem into a wasteland.

    • Re:Translation (Score:4, Insightful)

      by iplayfast (166447) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @09:55AM (#40420571)

      Yes we poisoned the well of censorship.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      More like: poisoned the trough.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    When you go into politics, what kind of device do they ram up where to rip your ability to feel embarrassment out?

    • When you go into politics, what kind of device do they ram up where to rip your ability to feel embarrassment out?

      The "device" is a large wad of cash and cheques which is shoved repeatedly into either the subjects hand or pockets. Other side effects of this treatment include: a deranged mindset, inability to distinguish fantasy from reality, and voluminous stools emerging from both digestive orifices.

      • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 23, 2012 @09:09AM (#40420375)

        That's the trouble with capitalism. Any philosophy which promotes the principle of selfishness is going to encourage behaviour which is harmful to others providing it is profitable - first people do away with morality/decency and just "stick to the rules", then they realise that actually it's fairly easy to ignore the rules too.

        Unfortunately, the best progression we've ever had from raw capitalism - the balanced social democracies emerging in '50s and '60s Europe - were destroyed by the neoconservative project's battle commencing in the '70s. And now the latter have the cheek to blame the former.

        • by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @09:41AM (#40420513)

          good post.

          really, capitalism is greed. reduce it to what it really is and call a spade a space.

          capitalism is greed, in action.

          and we are SURPRISED AND SHOCKED that such a system has utterly failed us?

          no boundaries, no limits and greed-driven laws and ethics.

          its no wonder we are as fucked up as we are! I'm talking about the world, here; since the capitalism disease has spread thru much of the world and the US is intent on forcing it on every last nation, too.

          that's what are 'democracy building' is. forcing our levels of greed on the rest of mankind.

          nice......

          • by jhoegl (638955)
            It is not a secret that capitalism is greed, nor a shock.
            This is why we have rules and regulations.
            But 4 years ago, we suffered under an ignorant that repealed and ruined these powers for 8 years.
          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward

            This is what someone who hasn't actually studied capitalism thinks. This is the propagandized version.

            Capitalism is the other way around. It's people who are free to vote with their dollars. If you want to succeed, you need to provide something with value. The only way to divert from capitalism is to remove its freedoms. You force the money into places where there isn't value. You make people behave according to some arbitrary government agenda rather than market demands. You ALWAYS end up shrinking the eco

            • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 23, 2012 @10:41AM (#40420815)

              "One more thing, capitalism is the only way a country 16T in debt is going to crawl out of the hole"

              The only way to get a country into 16Tn debt is by capitalism.

              But I guess it melds nicely into the fundamental depravity of religious thinking: give you a problem, then claim they are the only ones with a cure.

              "Capitalism is the other way around."

              Capitalism is the screed of greed. End of story.

              "It's people who are free to vote with their dollars."

              And then, to gather power, you get more money. Wich means more power, and the ability to get more money. Which means a continuing descending spiral of greed.

              You can't vote with your dollars and not pay for food.

              And if you have no money because some rich bastard has offshored your job, you have no say.

              Capitalism is the only political system that takes away your rights and claims it to be your fault all along. You really are a horrible piece of slime, you are.

              "If you want to succeed, you need to provide something with value."

              So you're against inheritance and want it taxed at 100%, right? You want investment dividends removed, right? You want management removed, right? And charging for banking loans should be banned, yes?

              After all, the only ones producing the valueable stuff you're selling are the workers, not their dependants and not the leeches who are syphoning money off the working populace merely because they've managed to leech money off someone dead or already wealthy.

              "You ALWAYS end up shrinking the economy."

              Yes these capitalists investing their dividends OUTSIDE the economy, who don't spend the money in the economy and who are free to remove themselves entirely from the source of their unearned wealth ALWAYS ends up shrinking the economy.

              Hell, the difference between Clinton (higher taxes, reduced debt, economic boom) with shrub who inhereted the windfall economy then by removing taxes caused a worldwide recession, and with Obama's spineless kowtowing to the rabid right-wing whereby stalling the economy even further because idiotic parasites like you whine and bitch about government, should show you your unthinking and poisonous mental garbage proposition is PROVEN FALSE.

              "There is a huge difference between greed and self-interest."

              There isn't.

              But capitalism as practiced by people like you don't bother with the self-interest beyond "am I making more money?" and is in no sense different from rapatious greed.

              • The only way to get a country into 16Tn debt is by capitalism.

                Capitalism can't get a country into national debt by definition. National debt is the result of the government spending more money than it has. Capitalism is about private ownership of goods and the means of production. What you are objecting to is cronyism. I agree that cronyism need to be kicked to the curb and then beaten senseless, but confusing it with capitalism only leads to further cronyism.

                • by toriver (11308)

                  If the Government had stayed out of capitalism - by not providing the courts that get abused in disputes, not providing protectionist levies on foreign trade, by not providing the "intellectual property" monopolies - I am sure that Government would not be in the red. But would many industries survive without these crutches?

              • by Grishnakh (216268) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @03:29PM (#40422649)

                Hell, the difference between Clinton (higher taxes, reduced debt, economic boom) with shrub who inhereted the windfall economy then by removing taxes caused a worldwide recession, and with Obama's spineless kowtowing to the rabid right-wing whereby stalling the economy even further because idiotic parasites like you whine and bitch about government, should show you your unthinking and poisonous mental garbage proposition is PROVEN FALSE.

                Your view of history is slightly distorted. For one thing, it wasn't Shrub's tax cuts that caused a worldwide recession, it was the Dot-Com bust that did that. That's what happens when bubbles burst. Shrub's tax cuts certainly didn't help the situation (they made it worse), but they weren't the cause. Clinton's policies probably didn't help here; worse, Clinton's to blame for the 2008 recession since he signed the (Republican-authored) bill in 2000 that repealed the Depression-era Glass-Steagal act which would have prevented the real estate boom and bust.

                Second, Obama isn't spineless; he just acts that way so he can blame the Republicans for everything that's going wrong. Both the Democrats and the Republicans are equally to blame for the current mess. Just look at this stupid staffer that's trying to promote SOPA: she's a Democrat. It's the Democrats that were big fans of SOPA. It's the Democrats (in Congress; they had a majority there during Shrub's last two years) that wanted to bail out all the giant financial companies and banks. Yes, the Republicans are idiotic parasites too, but the Democrats are just as bad, they just serve different industries.

                The main problem with bashing Capitalism is that you need to promote something that you think is better. I haven't seen anything that is; the Russians and Chinese tried Stalinist communism and planned economies, and they were a disaster. China's been industrializing at an amazing rate since they threw off the yoke of planned economies and switched to a free(er) market. The way I see it, the problem with capitalism is when it's either completely unchecked by government, which has a duty to regulate things to maintain healthy competition and prevent monopolies, or in cases where they're unavoidable (water utilities, for example), strictly regulate them or provide them as government services directly, or worse the government is utterly corrupt and bought out by large companies, which is exactly what we have here in America. That's called "Crony Capitalism". The hybrid socialist/capitalist systems they had (and still have, to an extent) in many places in Western Europe seem to be the best systems in terms of stability and fairness.

        • by Gamer_2k4 (1030634) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @09:52AM (#40420553)
          Humans are always going to have greed. Capitalism is simply the engine that makes the best use of it.

          Would it be nice if there's a better way? Of course. But no such ways are feasible.
          • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 23, 2012 @09:56AM (#40420577)

            Humans are always going to have compassion.
            Humans are always going to have rapists.
            Humans are always going to have intelligence.
            Humans are always going to have illness.

            I don't see why greed ought to be the thing to pick to base your society on. And don't forget that humans are nature+nurture - you can play down or reinforce qualities in any community.

            Also, how is the xkcd reviewing going? I do tend to picture neckbeards as dilettante libertarians, so thanks for confirming another stereotype. ;-)

            • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

              by jcr (53032)

              I don't see why greed ought to be the thing to pick to base your society on.

              Perhaps you should have a look at the historical record, and find out what happened in countries that claimed to be suppressing greed. They racked up a pretty hefty body count.

              -jcr

          • by TheGratefulNet (143330) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @10:12AM (#40420643)

            OF COURSE there are better ways.

            curbs. curbs on how much power and wealth you can amass.

            we have not tried that, not really. we have curbs on the stock market (or, we used to!) and that worked for a while.

            no curbs on power in the capitalistic west. let the powerful get more powerful. and, due to that, those below that level sink even lower.

            is this really the best that mankind can do? I hardly think so!

            we are lazy and have given up trying to make better ways to govern and care for ourselves.

            but there *are* ways to fix our broken system. its just that those in power keep the old system since it favors their situation.

            • Get back to us when you find a way not just to make everyone play nice, but to make everyone WANT to play nice. Until that happens, Utopia will remain a dream.
        • That's the problem with *douchebags*. Shitty people will be shitty no matter the political or economic system.

        • by russotto (537200)

          You're blaming a politician's flunky knowing where her bread is buttered -- an act which would have been familiar in the days of the Roman Republic -- on capitalism?

        • by rolfwind (528248)

          That's the trouble with capitalism. Any philosophy which promotes the principle of selfishness

          Capitalism doesn't promote the principle of selfishness, it just recognized self-interest as the primary driving force. Like Churchill said about Democracy, it sucks, until you compare it to all the other systems.

        • by dkleinsc (563838)

          the balanced social democracies emerging in '50s and '60s Europe

          Not just Europe. Many Americans who identify themselves as "conservative" would love a return to the '50s United States. What they seem to forget is that that period in US history was one in which the top marginal tax rates were over 90% (instead of the current 35%), unions were the strongest they've ever been in human history, banking and other businesses were highly regulated, and the welfare state was growing stronger. And this was all under a Republican administration.

    • Can't be the rear end, that's where the hand of the puppet player is supposed to be put.

  • by DarkOx (621550) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @08:26AM (#40420219) Journal

    Moore and Metalitz still don't get it. Its not about the Internet or site blocking, its about that fundamental characteristics of our nation. Its about due process and freedom of speech.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 23, 2012 @08:32AM (#40420237)

      Due process and freedom of speech get in the way of maximizing the bottom line.

      • Then maximizing the bottom line is unconstitutional, I guess...

        • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 23, 2012 @09:43AM (#40420527)

          Yes, and putting out a hit-man on your competition in order to 'maximize your bottom line' is also unconstitutional. Just because something gets in the way of maximizing your profits doesn't mean you can legislate your way around such obstacles...... Oh, nevermind, I forgot.... that's EXACTLY how business maximizes profits in this country.

    • by Macthorpe (960048) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @08:37AM (#40420253) Journal

      I'm not American, but I do agree - I thought the point was that the government already has the power to do exactly what SOPA is "for" - it just removed due process requirements to do it.

    • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @09:17AM (#40420407)
      The problem here is that due process means courts -- long, expensive procedures are used to decide if copyright infringement took place. Nobody can make the argument that such a system is appropriate in this century. As the RIAA discovered, you simply cannot sue everyone who infringes copyrights online, there are too many people doing it.

      The copyright industry thinks that the problem is with due process, as opposed to attempting to apply a concept that originated in an age of printing presses to a society where everyone has the equipment needed to make perfect copies in their homes.
      • by Captain Hook (923766) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @10:26AM (#40420717)

        As the RIAA discovered, you simply cannot sue everyone who infringes copyrights online, there are too many people doing it.

        You would think that might give the law makers something to think about wouldn't you.

      • by msobkow (48369)

        More to the point, it means foreign courts so that the accused can receive the due process their home nations require.

        SOPA isn't just about due process; it's about international law and whether any one nation has the right to impose their laws on other nations. And the USG just is not grasping the essential fact that they do not rule the world, no matter how many nukes and how much the US spends on it's military.

        Worst of all, she's in denial about the fact that SOPA wasn't talking about site blocking,

    • by phrostie (121428)

      agreed, when they say, " Most countries in the world already have this option at their disposal ".

      those are dictatorships

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 23, 2012 @08:26AM (#40420221)

    "Congress was criticized for not being tech savvy, but from a lot of the comments we got it became clear that the people who were calling us did not understand the bill any better than we did."

    Soooooo, we (Congress) didn't understand a law we wrote (or at least the lobbyist wrote) and all of you protesting didn't understand it either - making you just as dumb as us!

    In your face!

  • by Anonymous Coward

    When we do it, it is "poisoning the well", but when they do it, it is a well executed strategic victory and they should all get bonuses.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 23, 2012 @08:31AM (#40420231)

    Sorry, that didn't work in the third grade and it doesn't now that I'm 44.

    • by Attila Dimedici (1036002) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @10:21AM (#40420683)
      Except that they didn't even claim that. They claimed that it was bad to oppose the bill without understanding it, but good to support the bill without understanding it. Which is the exact inverse of what I would consider to be the correct sentiment for a person in Congress. If someone in Congress does not understand a bill, they should vote against it. You might be able to make a case that they could take the word of a trusted staffer who understands the bill, but in this case the "trusted staffer" is admitting that they didn't understand the bill either.
  • by arthurpaliden (939626) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @08:31AM (#40420235)

    "Congress was criticized for not being tech savvy, but from a lot of the comments we got it became clear that the people who were calling us did not understand the bill any better than we did."

    So you were passing legislation that you did not understand. That is not why you were elected. You were not elected to be a rubber stamp. If we wanted one of those we could probably have bought on at Staples and it would have been been way cheaper than your salary.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 23, 2012 @08:58AM (#40420345)

      I think the problem comes from the fact that laws are being written by lobby groups. If the people sitting in congress can't figure it out, they should call on the public to read and react to it. Every Time.

      If there is something underhanded in the laws being debated, the SOPA type protests should happen, and the congress people will realize they have to fix it or abandon it.

      For the most part this part of the process is broken. Why are we letting corporations dictate laws that only benefit themselves? If "corporations are people" then they should be jailed and executed for murder anytime a law they wrote results in peoples deaths. This obviously isn't going to happen, so we should stop pretending corporations are people.

      Let's bring the literacy rate up, and put an "app" on peoples devices, phones, tablets, computers, etc that allows everyone in their country read bills being proposed, who wrote them, lobbying for them, and actually participate in the process.

      The SOPA law as proposed, would break the internet, because pieces of the internet are operated by US corporations, like root zones and SSL signing. If you start arbitraily blocking sites (see India's recent backlash) you're moving responsibility from those that should be responsible (the site operators) to the ISP's (thus raising costs) and DNS registrar's.

      Here's a simple blocking-type of solution that doesn't break the internet, nor make it a pain in the ass for ISP's to implement. All home users have a cable or DSL modem (or some other router locked down by the ISP), if a site, like TPB is a huge problem, then null-route that IP address in the router for users. Then list in the end-user router's software what routes are blocked for their own safety. The end-user can then delete these null routes once per reboot cycle if they know what they are doing. Once it reboots, it redownloads the null route list.

      Problem solved, users who delete the routes from their hardware, know exactly what they are doing, everyone else just gets a destination unreachable. ISP's don't have to deal with anything other than maintaining a list of null routes. No 3-strikes bullshit, and technically proficient users don't have to hack the hardware or run tunnels to bypass blocked sites. This is the low-hanging fruit.

      It's unfortunate that we'd need to block anything, but it's not just piracy sites that are unsafe, there's also malware C&C servers that should be blocked.

      • by dead_user (1989356) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @09:47AM (#40420539)
        Adding thousands and thousands of null routes to a home router would bring it to its knees. Most households can't afford a full blown Cisco router. The burden of processing the null routes would have to go to the ISP, whose systems could handle an extraordinarily large routing table. Once that happens, you'd have to add static routes on either side of the bad route to bypass it. VPN would still bypass it, but it would certainly be non-trivial for most users and would greatly increase the amount of total traffic required by the internet at large, as the pathing is no longer efficient by design but rather being bounced around the world. So yeah, it would break things.
      • by jcr (53032)

        I think the problem comes from the fact that laws are being written by lobby groups

        That's a secondary problem. It comes from the fact that the congress has usurped vast amounts of power to grant economic favors to their cronies that were never granted by the constitution.

        -jcr

        • by Immerman (2627577)

          They usurped nothing, we gave the power to them freely, it comes built into whole "writing the laws" gig. The problem is that they abuse the power for their own enrichment by doing things like rubber-stamping laws written by lobbyists in exchange for campaign contributions and future employment consideration.

    • "Congress was criticized for not being tech savvy, but from a lot of the comments we got it became clear that the people who were calling us did not understand the bill any better than we did."

      So you were passing legislation that you did not understand. That is not why you were elected. You were not elected to be a rubber stamp. If we wanted one of those we could probably have bought on at Staples and it would have been been way cheaper than your salary.

      Very well said! Furthermore, politicians have a duty to their voters to understand what laws they are passing. Although corporations are now considered people, a politician is supposed to represent the will of the actual people, not the the will of corporations. This was one empiric victory for the individual.

    • by arbiter1 (1204146)
      SOPA and ACTA were both wrote so you needed to be a lawyer to under stand them. Well most ppl don't know lawyer talk so people that did know lawyer talk aka lawyers, read the bills and explained them and put them in terms that everyone understands. They explained how vague and open the bill is and what it COULD allow which is the key to the bills. Not what they wrote to do, but what way they are worded that they could do.
  • by Hentes (2461350) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @08:38AM (#40420257)

    Her lips are moving.

  • by p0p0 (1841106) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @08:39AM (#40420261)
    In those countries where they do filter and block websites, the internet is broken. No one has any free speech. Political opposition is just blocked along with anything "offensive" like pornography. Anything the government does not agree with is shut down. That is very broken and for a country that considers itself the home of the free, then those systems would be considered completely corrupt and unethical.

    But who cares. It's all for the greater good.
    The greater good.
    The greater good.
    • Or for the benefit of the corporations that stand to make beaucoup bucks supplying, deploying, and mantaining the infrastructure. It isn't about the greater good at all. Its about money.
  • I think the entertainment industry's tactic to silence the opposition is to leave them speechless from such over the top claims. "Internet at risk"?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 23, 2012 @08:41AM (#40420273)

    "Most countries in the world already have this option at their disposal to deal with this problem. If site blocking broke the internet, then the internet would already be broken."
    Countries like China and Iran. Do we want the Internet controlled like those countries?

  • by Narrowband (2602733) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @08:42AM (#40420275)
    Well, yes, for residents of countries that have that power, the Internet is, in fact already broken.
  • by YankDownUnder (872956) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @08:43AM (#40420283) Homepage
    There are more than enough people and resources behind each and every bill brought up before the Senate and/or Congress. There is more than enough study and research behind the scenes. Playing out "ignorance" in any respect is merely a show, merely another part of the "smoke and mirrors" game. The unfortunate advantage of the intelligent "netizens" is that we DO know, we DO have facts, we DO have experience and in general, it's those of us that helped to build what is called "The Internet" - old school BBS Sysops and hackers and the likes - that are speaking out - and we're the one's that actually understand the entire paradigm. This, to me, is mere BS marketing.
  • Same with EU/ACTA (Score:5, Interesting)

    by QuasiSteve (2042606) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @08:45AM (#40420291)

    EC member Anders Jessen, Trade, suggested that the negotiations surrounding ACTA were unfair; not because of all the shrouded-in-secrecy/hidden-agenda stuff, but because of 'threats' against governments (hacks on government websites, threats to release data if governments voted in favor of ACTA) and the focus on the 'digital' section.
    He suggested that if that section had not been there, ACTA would have been accepted, and that would have been a good thing with regard to fake physical articles such as clothes and parts (specifically pointing out aircraft parts).

    Yet it doesn't dawn on him that maybe they should remove the 'digital' section and re-submit. Or, more likely, it does - but he knows as well as anybody else that the 'digital' part is actually the meat and the 'physical' is just to get major manufacturers and their lobbying prowess on board.

    Some of that shines through in his statement that Google's revenue is now bigger than that of all newspaper publishers together, noting that in this era you can make copies much, much faster and that 'online users have cannibalized offline users'.

    He does admit to some mistakes and that this is a time for self-reflection for the EC as the EP critized him and suggested that next time something is put forth to which a yes-or-no vote is to be cast, they should better coordinate and cooperate with the EP.

    Source:
    http://www.nu.nl/tech/2841489/europese-commissie-vreest-gevolgen-bij-afwijzen-acta.html [www.nu.nl]

    Translated (horribly):
    http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=nl&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&layout=2&eotf=1&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.nu.nl%2Ftech%2F2841489%2Feuropese-commissie-vreest-gevolgen-bij-afwijzen-acta.html [google.com]

    • by arbiter1 (1204146)
      Yea ACTA was SOPA jr. they used a trade agreement to bypass all the gov red tape straight to the president to be signed in. Reason people got up in arm's over it was no one knew a thing about it til it was leaked. When people heard it was a back room agreement wrote up in back room with only content industry input. Everyone knew it wasn't gonna have public's best interest in mind.
  • by popo (107611) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @08:48AM (#40420295) Homepage

    Wow. Did she really just justify US policy-making by making a "majority of nations" argument???

    There are 87 UN member states that are full-fledged democracies or "fully free" according to Freedom House. There are a total of 193 UN member states.

    Which means that even in the United Nations (which doesn't contain all autonomous national entities) ONLY 45% ARE EVEN DEMOCRACIES.

    Dear Stephanie, if policy makers used the "most countries in the world" argument to justify policy decisions, the WORLD would be broken.

  • Huh? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    "If site blocking broke the internet, then the internet would already be broken"

    Most countries aren't at the center of the Internet and most countries don't play such a pivotal role in core Internet technologies like America does.

    • by arbiter1 (1204146)
      Yea most sites in the work are hosted either US, Canada and the Europe. Countries that have those blocks are countries barely anyone in world visit's sites in those countries less they have to. Plus the people in those countries haven't had many rights to start with and they aren't about to give them rights anytime soon.
  • by DarkOx (621550) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @08:54AM (#40420325) Journal

    I think the content industry has an entitlement problem. We live in a democracy, not a utopia. Churchill said something to the effect of "a democracy is a terrible form of government, but its the best one anyone has come up with so far"; I am butchering the quote.

    The only way for a democracy to ever be a utopia is if everyone agreed with everyone else on everything. That is not likely to happen. We all have rights, and sometimes in exercising those rights we are going to infringe in some mild way on the rights of others. Its unavoidable. One of the stated goals of our organizing document is to promote the general welfare; a big part of that is maximizing each individuals ability to exercise their rights, and putting some minimal controls in place to limit the amount of infringement on the rights of others that occurs. That infringement can't be eliminated so where permitted it should happen in a fair way, in that harm is spread around equally.

    The content industry does not seem to recognize that society has already given them all sorts of concessions; which limit the rights of others in order to protect them. They have copyright extensions that go well beyond what the Constitution stated the aim of copyright to be; they have tools like DMCA, the have FBI acting like the own team of private investigators, the have the FCC requiring completely unnecessary content control features in electronics, the list goes on.

    None of those things are sufficient to eliminate copyright violations. I think may of them already go to far but in any case the amount of copyright infringement going on out there is at a perfectly acceptable level. Why, well because the content industry is wildly profitable, and while I think private property is the cornerstone of freedom, these guys are not hurting they don't need more protection for the state to hold on to what is theirs. Any good it would do them is in no way proportional the harm it does to others.

    Lots of folks are limited by what the content industry already has. Indie artists can't use all sorts of material because is locked up under copyright in perpetuity, small manufactures are locked out of the market because they can't implement mandatory DRM, tinkers are locked out of their hobbies by draconian FCC rules, citizens have the privacy violated by the FBI and others all the time. Giving the content industry the right to completely curb stomp our ability to express ourselves on the Internet, with no process and no appeals; is simply unjustified.

    • The content industry does not seem to recognize that society has already given them all sorts of concessions

      That is because despite all those concessions, they still do not have the things they want:

      1. Unlimited copyright terms (see: debate on the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act)
      2. Control over all communications systems
      3. A world without the Internet
      4. Profits measured in quadrillions of dollars
    • by arbiter1 (1204146)

      The content industry does not seem to recognize that society has already given them all sorts of concessions; which limit the rights of others in order to protect them. They have copyright extensions that go well beyond what the Constitution stated the aim of copyright to be; they have tools like DMCA, the have FBI acting like the own team of private investigators, the have the FCC requiring completely unnecessary content control features in electronics, the list goes on.

      SOPA was gonna do same thing DMCA did in a way, give them more power to enforce their copyright. Problem with DMCA is they have abused its power since day it was signed taking down content they don't even have rights to. More power won't help them fix their broken and 40 year old business model. Time to start living in today guys not 40 years ago

  • by king neckbeard (1801738) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @08:57AM (#40420337)

    Congress was criticized for not being tech savvy, but from a lot of the comments we got it became clear that the people who were calling us did not understand the bill any better than we did.

    Those are two separate areas of understanding. Understanding technology and understanding a particular bill don't necessarily translate, particularly when said bill is 78 pages of legalese in it's final form, and was subject to a number of amendments and changes.

    There's this thing called 'mob rule', and its not always right.

    She seems to be confused as to the reason why mob rule is not always right. It's not right when it allows the majority to oppress a minority. Not allowing the majority to be oppressed by a minority is not mob rule.

    • mob rule?

      like, when The People get railroaded and forced to accept bills, treaties and laws that are NOT in our best interest and would have never voted or chosen them if we had a say in the matter?

      I feel the mob, with suits and ties and titles, has been in control of this country the last few decades.

      in fact, things might be BETTER if 'fat tony' were to run things. a real mobster, with no false pretenses.

      at least with a mobster you KNOW where he stands and he does not pander just to get more election fund

  • by MobyDisk (75490) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @08:57AM (#40420339) Homepage

    I love the argument that "everybody else is doing it!" Yes: China, Pakistan, India, and Iran block free speech. So why can't we? If it works for them, it has to work for us, right?

    but from a lot of the comments we got it became clear that the people who were calling us did not understand the bill any better than we did

    This is probably true. It is a frustrating part of fighting any legislation. Most people are emotionally motivated, not logically motivated. They don't understand what the heck they are talking about. Yet you need sheer numbers so you can't say "don't call your legislator unless you have a CS degree and can explain all this." So unfortunately, no matter what the issue, most of the people standing with you don't know what they are talking about. Same goes for most of the people standing against you too.

  • by zhub (1877842) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @09:04AM (#40420357)
    From the title on her LinkedIn [linkedin.com] page, she most likely represents the establishment position.
  • "In government, many people have the power to stop things happening but almost nobody has the power to make things happen. The system has the engine of a lawn mower and the brakes of a Rolls Royce."

    • by arbiter1 (1204146)
      when corp $$$ is involved and elections are not close, its more like engine from a zr1 corvette and breaks of a bike.
    • Considering the laws that were passed in the more recent past and how beneficial they were for the general population I can only say: I WISH IT WAS SO!

  • Its a matter of you deciding what sites to censor with 0 input from people in the country. Only input you get on if site should be blocked is copyright industry input which they only have their profits in mind when they block a site. This Country was built on freedom not the copyright industries profit margin. They have no right to say what sites i can and can't go to. If they don't want to provide a means for me to get the content I want i have every right to go to sites that provide it. On top of the bloc
  • Well if the internet is already broken does America, the land of the 'free and brave' and all that crap, etc. etc., need to jump on the bandwagon? We are supposed to be world leaders, doing what is best for our citizens, but yet we entertain such idiocy. I don't care how the rest of the world does it, honestly. Listening to our internet engineers might be a wise idea. Oh, and if we only understood the bill as well as they do then they are still a joke as far as I'm concerned. It is their job to know th
  • like China and Iran? Great role models you have there, indeed.

    Wait... wasn't there something about the Iran not being a role model but ... what do we call people we don't like today... No, Communist was a few years ago, what again was the boogeyman du jour?

  • Guess what, you just learned a hard lesson about legislation - if you take the piss too much, the people will outrightly reject it to the point that you won't even get a chance to implement something half as draconian. All someone has to do is say "it's the new SOPA!" and people will instantly hate it.

  • by DaKong (150846) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @09:56AM (#40420573)

    That's what Moore's comments are. In front of the cameras all of the Washington crowd crows about democracy and rights and thinking of the children and the like, but they secretly despise all of those things and all of us who cherish them. They mock honesty because dissembling is the air they breathe. They hate action because the status quo fills their pockets. They hate freedom because it curbs their power. Think of the worst cartoonish super villain you can think of, then imagine an entire city filled with them, and you have the capitol of the United States. They're all psychopaths.

    That's why we need to clear all of them out and do a serious reboot of the country. We know a lot of things now that we didn't know 200 years ago when the first iteration of the Constitution was written, and we've had 200 years to watch the outputs of the first system. We can engineer a system of government that does not select for the psychopaths we have now.

  • by jesseck (942036) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @10:16AM (#40420657)
    She already makes 6 figures a year as a staffer... Here is a summary [legistorm.com]. She must be running short on cash or gunning for her boss's job.
  • by Skapare (16644) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @11:00AM (#40420937) Homepage

    This is what happens when the meaning of "tech savvy" gets usurped and people that can use apps in a smartphone get labeled "tech savvy" and think they know enough to make legislation that involves truly technical details about something like how the internet works.

  • by vell0cet (1055494) on Saturday June 23, 2012 @11:41AM (#40421205)
    "... the people who were calling us did not understand the bill any better than we did"

    I can't believe she used this as an argument. If they don't understand the bill, and their constituents didn't understand the bill, there can only be two reasons for trying to pass it:

    1) Passing legislation for legislation's sake (Stupid)
    2) Passing legislation because you are compelled to by another party that only holds it's own interests (Evil)

    So they are either stupid or evil (or both)
    • by RyoShin (610051)

      Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity

      ...except when discussing politicians, in which case you should assume both.

He keeps differentiating, flying off on a tangent.

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