I am often distressed by the level of discourse in this country, especially the willingness to some people (especially politicians) to dismiss scientific results and expert opinions. Especially when they do this to push an agenda.
But this is reaching new heights, as internet expert Cory Doctorow reports in BoingBoing:
If you followed my tweets from the markup session for SOPA in the House of Representatives, you know how frustrating it was to watch: you had these lawmakers blithely dismissing the security concerns of the likes of Vint Cerf, saying things like, “I’m no technology nerd, but I don’t believe it.” In other words: “I’m a perfect ignoramus, but I find it convenient to disregard the world’s foremost experts.” Another congressman from Florida kept saying things like “No one can explain to me how this bill harms political debate or academic freedom.”
I haven’t said much about SOPA in this blog, mainly because I was hoping that it was so broad and so damaging to free speech that it either wouldn’t be enacted or would instantly be found unconstitutional. But given the ridiculous amount of power organizations like the RIAA and MPAA exert over Congress, I guess it should be no surprise that politicians are trying to pull a fast one and sneak in approval of this horrible law. And given that out current Supreme Court thinks that corporations are people with important free speech rights, systemic censorship of the Internet might just become a reality.
Would rights-holding monopolies abuse the powers given to them by SOPA? Well, they already are abusing those powers, even though ironically they haven’t yet been given them. Friday, Universal Music Group lawyers asserted that they have the right to have YouTube remove any video they don’t like, even if UMG owns no rights to it.
That’s what SOPA does — gives big corporations the right to censor almost anything on the Internet, often with no recourse or judicial review for the person censored. If the idea of corporations controlling what you can say or write bothers you, write to your Congresscritters and express your displeasure.