Internet Censorship Bill Passes First Hurdle

posted by Nima

November 27, 2010 · Posted in Interventionism 

The Orwellian disease continues to spread as the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act passes the Senate judiciary committee:

The Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA) sets up a system through which the US government can blacklist a pirate website from the Domain Name System, ban credit card companies from processing US payments to the site, and forbid online ad networks from working with the site. This morning, COICA unanimously passed the Senate Judiciary Committee.

This comment beautifully exemplifies the government’s and its lobbyists’ hilarious hypocrisy:

“With this first vote, Congress has begun to strike at the lifeline of foreign scam sites, while protecting free speech and boosting the legal online marketplace,” he said. “Those seeking to thwart this bipartisan bill are protecting online thieves and those who gain pleasure and profit from de-valuing American property.”

This makes perfect sense of course! You see, because the government, that group of people who sustain their activities by taking other people’s property via aggression or threat thereof, is soooo concerned about property rights. =)

It is hard for many people to see it in the fog of inane and repetitive propaganda, but this kind of global madness and hypocrisy is at the root of the society we live in.

Since it is difficult to sell the public on legalizing outright censorship, the process of eroding civil liberties is a slowly creeping one. So don’t expect internet censorship to end here.

I work in the web business. The truth is, if a website is found to produce illegal or stolen content, then there are already legal means that can be pursued via the court system, local authorities, or even just by contacting the hosting company. Yes, of course there are those tech savvy folks that cannot be tracked down by those means, but those will not go away just because suddenly someone in Washington DC instead of a local authority initiates action.

Meanwhile, on the downside, centralized power is getting bigger and bigger.

The purpose of such laws, just as for example antitrust legislation, is not to protect people from property rights infringements. It is to give the government yet another stick in its arsenal that it can wield whenever it deems necessary. It is a tool by which special interest groups can invoke the power of the state to initiate shakedowns of sites that may represent a thorn in their side.

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