Category Archives: SOPA
It appears both the Democrats and the Republicans agree that PIPA/SOPA is a bad idea, a conclusion they probably came to when the internet blew up earlier this year in the wake of both pieces of legislation working their way through congress. Now it seems that both parties have decided to oppose the measures in their respective party platforms.
First it was the Republicans, spearheaded by Senator Marco Rubio R-Fla, who has been at the forefront of this issue since this past January, and played a large influence in forming the plank on the GOP platform. From the Washington Post:
GOP adopts Internet freedom plank: Part of the platform the Republican party adopted Tuesday night included language to protect Internet freedom, something that lawmakers and interest groups on both sides of the aisle have been calling for in recent months….
The Republican plank is focused on removing regulation around technology businesses, as well as language that would protect personal data online from the government. The platform language also says that the party will “resist any effort” to move Internet governance away from its current multistakeholder model in favor of international or “intergovernmental” organizations.
President Obama has also come out in favor of including and Anti-SOPA/PIPA plank on the Democratic Party platform after it was included on the GOP platform. From deathandtaxes:
Yesterday, during his Reddit AMA, President Obama stepped up and joined the call for internet freedom, saying that it would also be in the DNC’s platform at the upcoming Democratic National Convention, and writing, “Internet freedom is something I know you all care passionately about; I do too. We will fight hard to make sure that the internet remains the open forum for everybody.”
Where the two parties differ is over the issue of Net Neutrality, with Democrats supporting Net Neutrality and Republicans opposing it Net Neutrality is the principal that government should regulate internet service providers by preventing the ISP’s from limiting bandwidth as a means of edging out competitors. It is a major sticking point between those who want internet regulation to keep the internet open for consumers, and those who feel that ISP’s should not be regulated.
No matter how you look at it, Net Neutrality is government regulation of the internet, even if it is merely regulating the actions of ISP’s. As much as it appears like a good thing on the surface, it opens the door for more government regulation of online activity. If this is the major conflict related to internet regulation, I for one, welcome the debate.
First there was the cumbersome named and even more cumbersome acronym, Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA). This bill died in committee. Then there was the more simply named and Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and its brother in the Senate, Preventing Real Online Threats to Economic Creativity and Theft of Intellectual Property Act (PIPA- originally PROTECT IP). SOPA was referred to committee on the House floor, PIPA was placed into permanent suspended animation in the Senate.
Now comes the Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA). It doesn’t have the teeth of COICA, nor the cool acronym of SOPA and PIPA, but could it pass? It seems that every new version of this bill erodes the power and control of the federal government in exchange for either greater support or less opposition by corporate interests and digital rights advocates.
There are differences between SOPA and CISPA. First, CISPA does not put onus of enforcement on internet service providers. Under SOPA, ISP’s were required to strangle bandwidth from sites suspected of violating copyright. Instead the responsibility for protecting copyright is on the copyright holders themselves. CISPA also does not create a necessarily antagonistic relationship between internet companies and the government. Instead it encourages information sharing for the sake of increased cyber security. While shifting balance between privacy and cyber security will always be controversial, it may be necessary given the increase in cyber attacks over the past five years.
It maintains to be seen whether or not this bill can attain what SOPA and COICA couldn’t, enough bi-partisan support to pass and amend the national security act.