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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 @07:58AM (#38696436)
    Thanks muchly, our economy needs a bit of a boost right now.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 14, 2012 @08:56AM (#38696632)

      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. If not... well you saw how they managed to get a UK citizen extradited to the use over this shit, and how they got Spain, Finland and Belgium already infected.

      Of course they will never manage to reach their goal. Since that is physically impossible. (Unless they put DRM chips in every human's head, we can still e.g. have one person read the information, tell it to somebody else, who then types it in.)
      And of course we will still not be affected in the slightest, since we already have countries that have such total censorship (China, UAE, etc), and they use VPNs at $5 a month to circumvent *everything*. (Hell, there are cops who will pay you to tell them how to get porn. They are humans too, and if it's about porn, their side is clear. ^^)

      So they have no chance of ever succeeding.

      But for the cattle majority, they don't have to. Since those are passive life-forms. Who don't have their own perception of reality, but instead get it from their opinion makers. So all that is needed, is for the dumb masses to believe the lies and delusions, and they will have control over most. (Some say: Unless the masses feel the need for porn. Then the revolution will start. ;)
      Same as those people in North Korea, who honestly believe that when they touch an American flag, their hands will rot off. (Remember the Daily Show interview about the guy who gets people out of NK.)

      It's all about assumed reality nowadays. Not actually sensed reality.

      And the problem is, that apparently, we, the good people, are not secure in ourselves to get the masses' perception to change. Maybe because other than the media industry, we don't live off of cocaine. (I've worked in the EU music industry, and I swear on my dick and my mothers' life, that there is no such thing as a business deal without cocaine and preferably hookers and booze in there. It's an old boys network on drugs.)

      So let's kick the Dunning Kruger effect [wikipedia.org]'s ass, and fix the mindset of the masses!

    • by khipu (2511498)

      I think if you actually looked at the legal situation in Europe, you'd come to a different conclusion.

    • by betterunixthanunix (980855) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @10:17AM (#38697168)
      Why? SOPA would prevent US visitors from going to such websites.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Based on my understanding from reading SOPA, it seems that either I am very misinformed or almost every single commenter on the thread is. SOPA specifically mentions that its draconian policies are only to be applied to domestic-facing foreign websites. It then goes on to define a foreign website as any website that isn't a domestic website, and mentions that domestic websites include any website listed on an american based registrar. This implies that all .coms and .orgs are exempt from SOPA as they are li

      • When the truth is less interesting than the story, the story usually wins.

        Be that as it may, legally-enforced Internet filtering is still censorship. People want to be able to trade information with each other, and when an authority steps in to silence them, they rebel. This is just basic human nature (as the inclination for those with authority to step in and stop people from doing anything that might threaten said authority, whether it is just or not).

        All of this has happened before and this will all ha

  • by harvey the nerd (582806) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @08:02AM (#38696452)
    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.
    • by Demonoid-Penguin (1669014) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @08:45AM (#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.

      • 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.

        Hopefully, you're right: once younger generations who grew up with digital media and the internet rise to positions of power, the rules will change and the insanity will ease. That said, I have a lawyer friend under 30 who ran for office in his state legislature and he is just as willfully ignorant about technology issues as the Senate and House champions of SOPA/PIPA. That doesn't give me much hope for the future.

      • Doesn't matter what side of the fence you're on with regards to the climate debate. Both sides are backed by an almost unmessurable amount of funding. As such there are two establishments fighting for power and control. On one hand, the deniers want to be left alone and fuck up the world for everyone else. Those that have accepted climate change research are looking for policies that control others lives while at the same time enriching themselves with financial and political glory. Al Gore for example.

        • Doesn't matter what side of the fence you're on with regards to the climate debate.

          I made that reference with regard to government control of what scientists were/are allowed to say.

          I'm of the belief that you can't try and invalidate data that shows elevated temperatures by claiming the temperature measurements are artificially elevated by having recording stations near roads, power stations, and airport *and* simultaneously claim that producing heat doesn't have an effect on the immediate environment.

    • by khipu (2511498) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @09:09AM (#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 xavdeman (946931) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @10:20AM (#38697200)

        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 (...).

        Sweden. You should try PRQ.se, they host TPB. But they also offer Dedicated servers and Tunnels and anonymizers.

        • by khipu (2511498) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @01:27PM (#38698522)

          I have my doubts. Sweden is subject to EU data retention directives (even if they have been dragging their feet implementing them) and permits warrantless wiretapping (backed up by a huge supercomputer). Sweden also has hate-speech laws that have been used to stifle free speech, and has used DNS filters to make sites inaccessible. And the Pirate Bay fate suggests that they are subject to similar copyright enforcement as other nations (the second largest damage award went to a German company, so this isn't just US-driven). In what way is it better than other nations? Furthermore, how well does Sweden protect the rights of foreign customers?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 14, 2012 @08:05AM (#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?

    • Except one thing: payment providers. It will hurt a lot when American companies start using SOPA to block Paypal/Visa/Mastercard payments for foreign companies.
    • In reality they will only hurt American companies and consumers, not the rest of the world

      Actually, this will hurt the rest of the world. It will fracture the DNS system. It will give countries like China and India an excuse to further their own censorship agendas. It will hurt innovation in the US, which will hurt innovation elsewhere. It will make it hard for people do to business with the millions of consumers in the US.

      The Internet is global, so one country attacking the Internet harms everyone everywhere. Do you really think that China's firewall has not affected anyone outside of

  • ... it seems that the US is committed to bullying other countries into enacting these laws themselves . . . or else . . .

    • by lennier1 (264730)

      Pretty much the only solution.
      Treat any DNS information from US systems as compromised until the opposite has been confirmed thoroughly.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    This will probably reflect on my ignorance regarding DNS, but why can't we have a website similar to archive.org that resides on a static ip address that everyone knows and that can be used to check the latest archived DNS records.
    I'm not proposing domain anarchy. Just something like ICANNBackup.org which resolves to x.x.x.x?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      A fair suggestion, but some issues.

      1. To handle the load that server would receive it would need geo-dispersed slaves, with levels of recursion handed-off to lower tiers. So eventually you'd end-up with an analog of the current DNS system.
      2. Who would pay for the hosting and throughput?
      3. It would need to be out of the jurisdiction of SOPA, so perhaps a .info domain and administered in... Iran?
      4. A quick-fix for the SOPA advocates would be to break routing to the nodes in the system. After all, they'll ne

      • by Anonymous Coward

        P2P DNS?

      • by Demonoid-Penguin (1669014) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @09:00AM (#38696644) Homepage

        A fair suggestion, but some issues.

        Aside from the technical issues - the real problem is that the US will just declare war on cyber terrorism - a phrase that can take on any meaning. And any country not on their side....

        Don't forget where ICAAN is - or do you think it's an independent organisation like the UN? If Microsoft can go on license raids with Russian police how long before Disney goes on door kicking adventures in Spain. Already ICE has declared war on counterfeit copies of goods that are not made in the US. And a UK citizen is being extradited for something that's not illegal in the UK.

    • There are several of them, their IP spread mostly via DHCP.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 14, 2012 @08:13AM (#38696494)

    Let's apply the SOPA logic to other things to... if someone asks you for directions to a bank and they rob it then you should be liable. Farewell GPS and maps, we barely knew thee.

    SOPA is a very silly piece of legislation but we already have the US attempting to extradite someone from the UK for hosting links. SOPA just codifies such gross stupidity in US law.

    • Let's apply the SOPA logic to other things to... if someone asks you for directions to a bank and they rob it then you should be liable. Farewell GPS and maps, we barely knew thee.

      SOPA is a very silly piece of legislation but we already have the US attempting to extradite someone from the UK for hosting links. SOPA just codifies such gross stupidity in US law.

      Sadly logic works well in code, but craps out in reality.

    • by Joce640k (829181)

      SOPA is a very silly piece of legislation

      Legislation doesn't have to make sense, it just has to meet payment criteria.

      The people voting on this are old guys in suits, they have no idea what DNS is and have no interest in learning about it. All they know is other suits saying "it'll stop people copying our stuff!" over expensive dinners.

      The other suits aren't any better; they actually believe it will stop people copying stuff.

      It won't.

  • Because they understand it so well.

    Take a look at "Dear Congress, It's No Longer OK To Not Know How The Internet Works" http://bit.ly/vOEEbt [bit.ly]

    Senator Ted Stevens described the internet as “a series of tubes;” Rep. Mel Watt of North Carolina "seemed particularly comfortable about his own lack of understanding;" and Rep. Maxine Waters of California stated "any discussion of security concerns is 'wasting time' and that the bill should move forward without question."

  • Just a thought - but if SOPA can be used to silence debate, this must apply just as much to the political as to the scientific process.

    I think that if you were to target politician's private websites and any websites associated with congress using SOPA then you might quickly find the act repealed!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday January 14, 2012 @08:48AM (#38696610)

    SOPA in greek means "shut up"
    PIPA in greek means "pipe" or (slang) "blowjob"

    • by Joce640k (829181)

      In Spanish it's "soup" and "sunflower seed"

    • by sunwukong (412560)

      In Canada they mean "Standard Operating Procedure" and "Picture In Picture", eh?

    • by DaSwing (902297)
      Seems to mean something in every language. In swedish SOPA is a derogatory term you say to someone when they suck (meaning 'garbage') and a verb meaning to use a broom. PIPA means smoking pipe.
  • ...where freedom of speech could be severely curtailed,....

    Could be, might be, possibly, if twisted and abused in the worst ways imaginable by warped and dogmatic minds.

    I read the Huff often, but it's just a blog site. There is no fact checking required by their writers, so I take what they say with a HUGE grain of salt.

    This article, for example, is a panic-inducing fluff piece with not a shred of evidence to support it.

    We GOT our way on SOPA yesterday. Good enough for me.

  • by Anonymous Coward
    "Simply put, ... 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."
  • I keep hearing about these computer viruses. I hear they are a bad thing. Why doesn't Congress do anything about them? Why don't they pass a law to make them illegal? Call your Congresscritter now and ask him to sponsor a Stop Internet Viruses Act.

    SIVA. Now *THAT* would make us safe!
  • by IronHalik (1568993) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @09:12AM (#38696716)

    ...but won't SOPA/PIPA work both ways? Won't MAFIAA online distribution channels be affected as well? I could place my copyrighted work somewhere in comment/review section of their sitesand then cite PIPA to take the online store offline.

    I'm assuming that according to SOPA/PIPA, site owner is still accountable for what user posts.

    • Good thought, but in this case a new law will be passed next to SOPA. Something like PABO (Protecting American Businesses Online), which will grant big corporations immunity from petty individuals like you and me. For example, it will state that you can only sue for for copyright infringement IF you're a slave, pardon, member of the MAFIAA. Don't try to win against them on their field, it's hopeless.

    • Yes but you don't even have to place copyrighted work. All it takes is the accusation that someone has placed copyrighted work for the site to be yanked and any search results to be de-indexed if SOPA is executed to the fullest. So accuse Universal Studios of copyright infringement and it disappears from the World Wide Web overnight.
  • by Bucc5062 (856482) <bucc5062@gmail.cPLANCKom minus physicist> on Saturday January 14, 2012 @09:20AM (#38696754)

    I RTFA and thought it a little theatrical, but on point. So SOPA and PIPA may have or will have a serious impact upon social websites like FB, like Slashdot, like...all of them. I can see it also having an impact on search engines, consumer websites that allows reviews; So what are these companies doing?

    Were I head of Amazon or Google or Microsoft or FaceBook or Slashdot I would perhaps be on the phone coordinating some Act to indicate ones lack of support for SOPA, show what the Internet would be like after its law. I read (once) that there was talk to shut down major sites one day to give example to a crippled Internet....Where did that go? Businesses may lose money? They will lose a lot more if SOPA shut them down. (or will "big sites" get special treatment...that would frost some folks)

    So, you see, its hard for me to get upset, to rage against the machine, when the major operators of the machine don't really care. Changing a small section of this bill is not a win, getting it canceled is a win. This Ant can call his representatives all day and it will do nothing against the money in their pockets. What will get their notice is when the Web they and their constituents rely on is taken off line for a day.

    When I read that the Google boys, Facebook King, Amazon God, Lord Bill et al speak out loudly and long; then I care, its their world, not mine. If the Web (note, not network) shuts down today I'd jones for a bit on missing gmail, not buying online, not posting to "friends". Quickly I'd re-discover letter writing, going to a local store, and actually attempting to talk face to face (no book) with my friends. It's not my web anymore, it is Google's and their ilk. They don't have a problem with SOPA? Neither do I. I'll read about their success in the local paper Newsprint.

    • by Joce640k (829181)

      Thing is ... all that will have happened without piracy being affected. At all. It will continue as normal.

  • The industry funding the laws, and the congress that are going to pass them, really cant see beyond their pocket book and feel that any industry ( or people ) that are harmed are just collateral damage, and really don't give a damn.

  • Whitehouse responds (Score:5, Informative)

    by 7x7 (665946) on Saturday January 14, 2012 @09:57AM (#38697022)
    The Obama Administration has responded to the petitions for stopping SOPA, PIPA and E-PARASITE. The good news: They oppose DNS intervention and action against anyone covered by US law. The bad news: They did not address deep-packet inspection or payment processors. https://wwws.whitehouse.gov/petitions#/!/response/combating-online-piracy-while-protecting-open-and-innovative-internet [whitehouse.gov]
    • Sorry, but that doesn't mean a shit. The Obama Administration was also "against" infinite detention of people without any kind of trial, of course Obama didn't veto it.

      The Obama Administration is just a bunch of bribed lying son-of-a-bitches like everyone else (except the mad ones) in DC, but people just eat their shit and keep quiet. I mean, what could anyone on the left do? Vote for Ron Paul, haha... ha... ha...

  • You owners are tired of your whining. It is interfering with their collection of all the economic resources in the USA. If you keep talking among yourselves you might get the erroneous archaic idea that as a citizen you have basic rights. You only have value as long as you can put money in the pockets of the economic royalists who now own the country. As soon as you cease to be a source of profit, you are expected to crawl off and die in a gutter. You are not allowed to die in the presence of you owners, it
  • by Anonymous Coward

    "Much to the surprise of nobody who understands how the Internet works..."

    My brain just threw a parse exception.

  • Well, I can see a LOT of sites moving to off-shore sites that are technology literate and friendly - Iceland, Brazil, Some-unnamed-island-in-the-pacific... The jobs that go there will help their economies, but will not be helpful to resurrecting the US economy.
    • by sgt scrub (869860)

      They should put sites in Luxembourg. That is where the media moguls hide their money from the tax man. Then Luxembourg can threaten rat them out to the IRS if they try to sue the government.

  • by sgt scrub (869860) <saintium@@@yahoo...com> on Saturday January 14, 2012 @12:03PM (#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.

  • What about arXiv? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Paxinum (1204260)
    A few of my math colleges and I are a bit worried that arXiv, (a huge database where mathematicians put their results before sending them to journals), will be shut down. It is most probable that some material in that database coincide with material published in journals, and most journals have the requirement that you sign over the copyright to them, thus making the arxiv version an infringement. However, arxiv is the main source for mathematicians to quickly discover results that might be needed, or to a
  • If anyone is interested this is the White House's response [whitehouse.gov] to the We The people petitions "Veto the SOPA bill" [whitehouse.gov] and "Stop the E-PARASITE Act" [whitehouse.gov] on the subject.
  • Oh so sad for the RIAA, the days are long gone for when they were able to rip you off for $15 on a cassette or CD by putting one or two of the best tracks on the radio or TV, and then after getting the whole album home for a listen you discovered the rest of album completely SUCKED! Also, there used to be no way to be able to hear anything from any other musicians out there who weren't actively being promoted by a label, and without major label backing there really was no chance of success, so we can thank

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