Tom Atlee: A Threat to the Internet, and to Society

IO Impotency
Tom Atlee

A threat to the Internet, and naming the right problem

by John Abbe

President of the Co-Intelligence Institute

The Internet is in an uproar over proposed U.S. Senate bill Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), and it’s corresponding bill in the House, the Protect Intellectual Property Act (PIPA). Among other consequences, these bills would lead to blocking websites (the way China does), and stopping ads & Visa/Mastercard payments to them, simply by alleging – not proving – that they are engaging in, enabling or facilitating copying content illegally. This and other features of the bills are so broad that many in the technology world have been organizing against the bills, concerned that they are an extreme overreaction which would greatly inhibit free speech and fair competition. Protest before Congress’ annual winter break (including a mass defection from domain name registrar GoDaddy for their support of the bills) have slowed things down enough for many more people to get involved. As Congress reconvenes, a number of large websites plan to shut down for half the day on January 18, to raise awareness on the issue. Wikipedia may join in, which would obviously gain a lot of people’s attention, and Anonymous has already signed on:

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