SOPA and PIPA are dangers to the future of the Internet

As a system administrator, you are probably already fairly aware of the SOPA and PIPA bills nearing voting in the USA congress.

Just in case you have managed to miss hearing about them, here are LOPSA's comments on the matter. This is also part of why we do not encourage complete black-outs; black-outs fail on the job of sharing information and more information rather than less is needed to try and spur those that care about the future of the Internet into action.

There have already been volumes of analysis produced regarding these bills, so I'll start and end with a short summary of why I think sysadmins should be concerned and then link to those others that already exist:

  1. If you manage any sites that automatically link to other sites in any way, you would be required to monitor them to make sure you are not linking to any other censored sites or information.
  2. Similar to proposed laws in the '90s regarding encryption, tools that help secure sites and give lawful access to existing systems can also be used to circumvent some of the various restrictions. That means sites talking about VPNs, alternate DNS providers and host registries, and so on can be forced to remove discussion of those tools or risk total shutdown.
  3. The burden of proof is placed upon the accused, not the accuser. Similar to the DMCA where we've seen that false accusations are not actively prosecuted making smaller organizations, startups and individuals particularly at risk of being shut down merely for trying to mount a defense against false claims.
  4. It would create an attitude of prior restraint (this is particularly notable since many of those individuals that complain of other countries like China, Korea, Iran, etc. blocking and filtering internet content seem to be proponents of doing the same thing here via this bill).
Some of the many sites that have analysis and commentary on SOPA, PIPA and related issues are: Please, follow those links, educate yourself, and if you are concerned by what you read please contact your appropriate legislator as soon as possible: