A lot of strange and troublesome legislation is circulating throughout the US government these days. If you haven’t heard, the internet’s open system is under threat from large corporate interest, namely the Recording Industry Associates of America (RIAA) and Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA).
2 bills have been introduced to cripple the workings of the internet in the name of preventing piracy of music and movies: Protect IP Act (PIPA) and Software Anti Piracy Act (SOPA).
While my understanding on PIPA is still not super solid at this moment, SOPA has some major potential problems with it. Primarily that it allows the meddling with DNS to try and block external websites to battle piracy and copyright infringement. According to the video below, however, you can always just enter in the IP address manually and still access these blocked sites.
In short, the impact of SOPA and PIPA could make it possible for corporations to shut down or censor sites like youtube and facebook for “copyright infringement” because of the content their users post. So far, it’s on the users of these sites to regulate the content they post.
As of December 21st, SOPA hearings are delayed til January. It seems there has been an outpouring of concern about the impacts this legislation would have on our beloved internet, and the representatives responsible for voting on it have little to no understanding of the tech or inner workings of the web themselves.
Given how facebook, twitter, etc have become conduits for broadcasting media related to political voice internationally, including OWS, their function is vital to how we express ourselves artistically and politically. Which brings me to the next piece of legislation up to pass, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA):
This bill essential expands the power of the state to detain american citizens with out a trial, for being suspected of aiding or being involved with “terrorism”. Everyone seemed to think that Obama would veto this bill, but that didn’t seem to happen. There’s been a lot of back and forth trying to decipher if NDAA really does allow US citizens to be “disappeared” and according to this detailed post on Salon.com, it does.
What I find so ironic about the text in the bill is that it defines anyone that “substantially supported al-Qaeda, the Taliban, or associated forces that are engaged in hostilities against the United States”. Given that we directly funded the Taliban in the 1980’s through the Pakistani ISI (Inter Services Intelligence) to fight the Soviets in Afghanistan, that would make the CIA a terrorist organization?!?
So you can fund terrorists to fight communists. But if there are no communists left to fight, then you fight the terrorists. So where are the terrorists? OWS?
When we stand up to peaceably assemble and voice our displeasure with the system, we then become labeled terrorists and can be disappeared?