EFF speaks out DNS blacklisting just the tip of the SOPA iceberg

first_imgThe backlash against SOPA and its Senate counterpart, PIPA, isn’t going unnoticed. Not only have several companies — most prominently, GoDaddy — reversed their positions on the fear of a customer exodus, but politicians are even starting to recognize that it’s becoming a toxic issue. Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) is still insisting that DNS blacklisting is the best way, but is willing to give it further examination before moving ahead. Now the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) has weighed in on the latest development.The digital rights advocacy group appreciates every step in the direction of electronic freedom, but sees Leahy’s move as minor progress at best. In a statement made to Geek.com, EFF Intellectual Property Attorney Corynne McSherry said:We are glad to see Sen. Leahy is recognizing, at last, some of the serious problems with this legislation. But a half-hearted promise to investigate the consequence of some of the provisions (which should have happened before this bill was even proposed) falls far short of what is needed. And, of course, the DNS filtering provisions represent only some of the fundamental flaws in PIPA. This bill, and its House counterpart, cannot be fixed — they must be killed. While DNS blacklisting is probably the most frightening part of the bill (it’s the same method used by the Great Firewall of China), SOPA and PIPA are filled with provisions that would fundamentally alter the landscape of the internet. Even without DNS blocking, the legislation would still allow the US Department of Justice to cut off US-based payment processing and advertising from any site that it labels as infringing on copyright. The bills don’t provide any system of checks & balances; the DOJ — acting on behalf of copyright industries — would act as judge, jury, and executioner. SOPA and PIPA would give these private businesses powers to essentially act as a government-sanctioned police force.Though Senator Leahy’s slight movement on the issue could be seen as an acknowledgment of the bill’s dangers, it’s more likely a simple political move. As the vocal opposition to SOPA and PIPA grows, there may be a push in congress to move towards rival bills, like the OPEN Act proposed by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR). Leahy is still serving his backers in the copyright industry, but he’d rather surrender ground on one element of his bill than to have it pushed aside entirely in favor of a rival piece of legislation.last_img

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