Collins, Marines, and SOPA

1. And in the end, Mr. Collins merely had to unplug the lights and radio in order to return them to their rightful owner, the people of Erie County. He didn’t need to deal with a guy he fired, he didn’t need to go to Cappellino’s.  It’s simply wonderful to be rid of him and his sense of nobility and entitlement, isn’t it? The notion that he’s looking to (a) challenge the well-liked, hard-working Kathy Hochul; and, in turn, (b) primary David Bellavia, who is still waiting to run that race, is simply delicious.

2. A video showing American Marines pissing on the dead bodies of Taliban fighters has everyone saying predictably angry things. That’s why you should read what Hamilton Nolan has to say about war, and what we should really be pissing on.

3. For some unknown reason, the federal government appears poised to pass the improperly named “Stop Online Privacy Act“, or SOPA. It criminalizes sites that store, maintain, stream or otherwise offer pirated content, and permits the government to revoke IP addresses and domain names. Also, once an offshore piracy site is summarily deemed illegal by the US Attorney General, the government can force domestic ISPs to block their customer’s access to those IPs. Furthermore, the proposed penalty would weaken security when you’re, say, doing online banking. But most ridiculously, SOPA allows the government to block your IP and track what you’re up to on the internet.

Deep packet inspection is the only way to block data from specific Web pages, or URLs. It also may raise new privacy concerns about SOPA because it relies on intercepting customers’ Web browsing, analyzing the protocols to see what’s going on, and reviewing the packets’ contents. That looks a lot like wiretapping, and a bipartisan group of House members soundly condemned it when a company named NebuAd tried it in 2008.

SOPA restricts and monitors Americans’ internet experience, censors what websites they can see, monitors what they’re doing, and places unreasonable burdens on domestic ISPs and hosting companies. It would create a governmental blacklist of websites. The whole thing takes the unbridled nature of the internet – the free-wheeling communications platform we all use and depend on, and turns our experience into something resembling a third-world authoritarian dictatorship, all so some Chinese website doesn’t offer pirated Metallica MP3s. The cure is worse than the disease. Senator Gillibrand is a co-sponsor of SOPA. Senator Schumer supports it, as well. It’s time to contact them and urge them to vote against the internet blacklist. Also, visit the “Stop American Censorship” site for more information and how to get involved.

PROTECT IP / SOPA Breaks The Internet from Fight for the Future on Vimeo.

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