November 16, 2011

Congress Declares War on the Global Internet - Internet Replies "Bring It On!"

In my previous posting The Coming Fascist Internet, I explained how government moves to control and censor the Internet, including hypocritically by the U.S. -- are pointing to an Internet future that can quite reasonably be equated with fascism. Strong words I know, but unfortunately true ones.

If you needed more proof, you only needed to observe today's Congressional hearing on SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act), which was much more akin to a lynch mob, or a scene from dictator's kangaroo court, than a honest attempt to explore the issues.

The hearing was stacked with SOPA proponents whose goal is simple -- get the entire Internet around the world under the boot of U.S.-ordered censorship and total control.

The only real anti-SOPA witness the House Judiciary Committee permitted was Katherine Oyama of Google, and the Committee overall treated her with the kind of unfairness and contempt that make everyday bullies and criminals look like rank amateurs.

It was a disgusting display by Congress, and a clear signal of how our leaders (from both parties) are hellbent on destroying Internet freedoms as we know them today.

If this all weren't so deadly serious, there would almost be comical aspects. The MPAA, faced with complaints that SOPA (and the similar legislation on the Senate side -- PIPA [PROTECT IP]) would break DNSSEC, merrily suggested that it simply should be rewritten so that government censorship orders could be easily implemented.

That the MPAA would make asinine comments like that is actually easy to understand. After all, they view the entire world as simply a film script to be sent out for rewrites on demand. And since their real goal (along with various of their brethren) is to rewrite technology to protect their traditional profit centers -- civil rights be damned -- we should not be surprised when they treat the entire planet like extras to be ordered around like slaves.

So Congress wants to declare War. Judging from my email, the Internet is champing at the bit for battle.

I have never before seen such a flood of messages ranging from "I'm terrified for our future" to "What can we do?" to "Here are my ideas for fighting back."

It's certain that this war could bring with it many causalities. Network fragmentation in various forms is an obvious example, since the rest of the world seems unwilling (surprise!) to allow the U.S. to keep dictating Internet policy forever, especially when the U.S. want to use its skewed control over the DNS (Domain Name System) as a judge, jury, and executioner baton to beat other countries' sensibilities to a pulp.

All manner of "workarounds" to such censorship are being proposed, many extremely intriguing, most of which would actually be illicit under the anti-circumvention provisions of SOPA. There's been a massive increase in queries regarding my proposed distributed Internet naming system (IDONS), but this is a long-term proposal, not a weapon for the immediate battles at hand.

Still, it is apparent that if Congress proceeds along their current path of trying to dictatorially censor sites, search engines, and other aspects of Internet operations, they will be setting loose the technological dogs of war in ways that are beyond the scope of their darkest nightmares, and that make "Anonymous" and the "Occupy" movement look like fleas on an elephant by comparison.

That isn't a threat. It's a prediction. It's a prediction made with the hope (though admittedly not the expectation) that Congress will step back from the precipice that leads to the destruction of the Internet in the form that has brought freedom of communication to the world, to a degree and in manners never before imagined.

Congress' approach to dealing with the issues of piracy is to figuratively use hydrogen bombs as a palliative measure -- cities reduced to rubble won't have much of a piracy problem.

But in the real world of the Net, the technological means to fight such a war are remarkably well distributed among Internet users at large. It seems as if the Congressional push for SOPA/PIPA reveals an utter cluelessness by Congress regarding what is actually about to be unleashed.

If Congress really wants to go to war against the Internet, they'll have their war. But it will be like nothing the world has ever seen before. You can count on it.


Posted by Lauren at November 16, 2011 01:18 PM | Permalink
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