Are you familiar with the Great Firewall Of China? Sometimes referred to as the Golden Shield project, it’s a Chinese government censorship and Internet surveillance project kicked off in 1998 and put into action in 2003. Simply put, it enables the government to restrict what content its citizens can read and view via IP blocking and DNS filtering. If they don’t like a site request a user makes, it won’t get viewed.
Many dismiss what’s happening in China and chalk to up to their communist political system. That could never happen in a free speech-driven, rights for all society like we have in the United States, right?
If the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) introduced this week gets enacted into law, things could change negatively for Americans which is why Dyn opposes the bill.
Photo Credit: Web Pro News
What Is SOPA?
The goal of the bill is to “expand the ability of federal law enforcement to shut down foreign Web sites and services that use counterfeited or pirated content created by U.S. firms.” It was introduced by Texas Republican Lamar Smith earlier this week as a companion to the Protect IP bill introduced that would punish those web entities that host unauthorized, copyrighted content like movies, software, songs and anything else that can be illegally downloaded.
While online piracy is obviously bad, this is the wrong way to go about fighting it. We understand why the groups like the Motion Picture Association of America and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce are supporting the bill as piracy of content costs the original producers/distributors tens of billions of dollars. They’re desperate for a solution to recoup that lost revenue. This isn’t it.
Why We’re Opposed To It
Web companies like Google, Yahoo and some of our fellow DNS providers like OpenDNS have strongly come out in opposition to SOPA and for good reason. Essentially, this bill would give the government more control into shutting down websites they don’t agree with in general. Anti-American sentiment promoted on Twitter, Tumblr or another one of our clients that promotes free discourse? Both the sites themselves and Dyn as their DNS provider could be penalized for simply providing a conduit in which someone can access or promote views the government doesn’t agree with — regardless of whether the source is based in the U.S. or not.
The Great Firewall of America? Yep, kinda feels like that. SOPA is a shot across the bow of free speech and as one of the largest Internet IaaS companies in the world, we cannot endorse it in any way, shape or form.
What Can You Do?
If you’re based in the U.S. and against this act, we urge that you e-sign this petition to ‘Stop The E-Parasite Act’. The initial goal was to get 25,000 signatures by the end of November and as I write this, there are more than 40,000. Clearly, this is a movement that is gaining momentum.
For our international friends, there is a petition here that has got a tremendous following.
You can also contact your local government officials and tell them you oppose SOPA. The more people that are heard, the more the government will understand that this level of control over today’s Internet is unneeded and unwanted. We don’t often rally the troops for causes such as this, so hopefully this post gets across the impact of how strongly we oppose SOPA.
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Jeremy Hitchcock is Founder of Dyn, a cloud-based Internet Performance company that helps companies monitor, control, and optimize online infrastructure for an exceptional end-user experience. Follow him on Twitter: @jhitchco and @Dyn.