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Censorship United States Science

How SOPA & PIPA Could Hurt Scientific Debate 100

Posted by timothy
from the debate-is-overrated-certainty-is-better dept.
mwolfam writes with this pointed excerpt from a piece at the Huffington Post by Los Alamos National Laboratories post-doc researcher Michael Ham, who makes a slightly different case than most for the reasons that SOPA and PIPA should be stopped: "Simply put, The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA) currently under development in Congress will provide a rapid way to sentence websites to death without the need for pesky things like trials and juries. Much to the surprise of nobody who understands how the Internet works, these two Acts will have absolutely no effect on digital piracy, but they will create an environment where freedom of speech could be severely curtailed, large companies can execute competitors, and scientific data can be hidden from the public."
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How SOPA & PIPA Could Hurt Scientific Debate

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  • by buglista (1967502) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @06:58AM (#38696436)
    Thanks muchly, our economy needs a bit of a boost right now.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 14, 2012 @07:05AM (#38696460)

    Actually, those acts are a good thing. In reality they will only hurt American companies and consumers, not the rest of the world. They will however drive business and entrepreneurship away from USA, basically allowing the US economy to implode, and thus when the companies get hurt, their wellsponsored congresspuppets will vote in another act to stop this madness.

    Good thing money equals speech in some areas, isn't it?

  • by Demonoid-Penguin (1669014) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @07:45AM (#38696600) Homepage

    The US is hellbent on the way to being a "nuclear damage zone", to be routed around. Inside, people will need a encrypted channel to a "neutral" server outside the US in a freer country to surf from.

    More like some, extremely influential people, groups, and companies are hell-bent on having the US control the entire internet. But don't be thinking that it's a US only thing. It upsets the established order - just like printing. Whether they'll succeed or not is another thing. I'm not expecting Facebook, eBay, Amazon, PayPal or climate change deniers to step up for net neutrality. For that to occur we'd need a change in education which won't happen over night. As long as people believe "terrorism" is not something police should deal with then we'll just have another war - this time on "piracy" or "threats to US jobs".

    Note that printing was invented a long time before Gutenberg.

  • by khipu (2511498) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @08:09AM (#38696686)

    I'd like to know where that mythical country is that respects your Internet privacy and doesn't subject you to damage from arbitrary and invalid copyright claims. I haven't found it, but I'd sure like to move my server there.

    Internet connections in Europe are subject to monitoring without a court order, you may end up having to pay fines for mere allegations of copyright infringement without due process, the government can place viruses on your computer to monitor it, and many forms of speech that are legal and protected in the US are illegal and subject to prosecution in Europe.

  • by Demonoid-Penguin (1669014) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @08:10AM (#38696690) Homepage

    I think you forgot ACTA. SOPA and PIPA are just the US instances of the ACTA virus. They expect the EU (and actually the whole world) to have them too.

    Yes they do [cablegatesearch.net]. Sadly.

    Just like they expected EU and the rest of the world to either look the other way or join them in their other wars.

  • by Elbereth (58257) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @08:42AM (#38696902) Journal

    Unfortunately, this is incredibly common whenever Slashdot discusses something. Slashdot when into hysterics when they found out about Trusted Computing. Nowadays, most of them use locked-down cell phones and game consoles every day, without a single complaint, despite how that was going to destroy computing as we know it. When Slashdot heard about RFID, the entire website ground to a halt, as the paranoid conspiracy wing took over the submission queue. People were advising you to microwave your new clothes. Slashdot was advising people to microwave their new clothes. I am not making this up. According to Slashdot, the government was going to use RFID to track people (or, less commonly, corporations were going to track people, but that didn't sound ominous enough, so it was a minority conspiracy). I eventually stopped reading Slashdot for a few years, because it just got so crazy here.

    Now, we've got SOPA, PIPA, and ACTA. Everyone knows these are bad laws. However, Slashdot has to go into hysterics yet again, making it that much more difficult to convince anyone that they truly are bad laws. When you've got one person over here saying, "SOPA is a bad law, because it will shift responsibility from users to site administrators", and you've got a whole crowd of geeks, frothing at the mouth, screaming, "SOPA WILL KILL THE INTERNET!!!!!!!!!11111", people will just tune out the rational person and write off everyone. This article is part of the problem. Instead of rationally and dispassionately explaining the issues, it starts screaming bloody murder, coming up with wildly improbable edge cases, in an effort to get people riled up and ready to protest. The examples that he uses are laughable, at best. They read like the sorts of wild conspiracy theories that usually come from anonymous users on Slashdot.

    I think that I hate "push technology" more than the average Slashdotter, but, then again, we'd all say that. I'm that guy from The Onion who doesn't own a television. I can't stand the thought of the Internet turning into some kind of passive, non-interactive experience like TV, where everything is designed for the lowest common denominator, vetted by focus groups and censored for my benefit. However, there's a huge difference between YouTube turning into a promotional tool for major labels (yuck) and the economy imploding, the internet being RUINED FOREVER, and scientific progress being impeded. Will people fight as passionately if you tell them YouTube will get more boring? Will people fight as passionately if you tell them MegaUpload will start validating that all those 700MB .AVI files aren't Hollywood movies? Maybe not. But it's infinitely better to tell people the truth, rather than making up these ridiculous, exaggerated stories about the world ending. My God, you'd think that one stupid law could cause the end of human civilization. I'm sorry, but that's just not possible. If SOPA/PIPA/ACTA pass, the Internet will be a worse place. But it will not cause half the things that people are saying will happen, and I think the public knows this. They're not as stupid as the elitists at Slashdot think. It's like when those cops came to your school and told you that you that marijuana would turn you into a drug addict, living on the streets, sucking cock for a fix. You knew that was bullshit. Well, the public knows that you're spewing bullshit about SOPA, and they're going to tune you out, just like you tuned out that cop.

  • by lightknight (213164) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @09:53AM (#38697430) Homepage

    Granted. However, in /.'s defense, the people in charge typically have trouble discerning when they've stepped over the line; in fact, it's only when people pick up the proverbial torches and pitchforks that various elected officials care to actually ponder where the language of a particular bill might lead the nation.

    And let's be honest: the the vast majority of bills Congress has voted into law over the past several years have been on par with some of the stinkers that Hollywood has been shoving down the public's throat. What we need here is a website like Rotton Tomatoes, but for the various laws that have been passed.

  • by misexistentialist (1537887) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @10:26AM (#38697628)

    Slashdot was advising people to microwave their new clothes. I am not making this up. According to Slashdot, the government was going to use RFID to track people

    The fact is the government is tracking cellphones and vehicles with various technologies. The "ridiculous, exaggerated" story essentially came to pass , though RFID wasn't the mechanism. Yes, we have nothing to hide from Big Brother, and yes life will go on even when the internet becomes an exclusively corporate and government domain. It's a good thing we have "sensible" people like you around to help us accept our fate.

  • by sgt scrub (869860) <saintium.yahoo@com> on Saturday January 14, 2012 @11:03AM (#38697880)

    All IP addresses assigned to the U.S. government should be blocked by all of the major sites. Let them have no searches, webmail, webdocs, or video's, chat, or voip until they stop trying to break stuff they know nothing about.

An inclined plane is a slope up. -- Willard Espy, "An Almanac of Words at Play"

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