Tuesday, January 3, 2012

What does SOPA/PIPA mean for Africa?

Watch this short (4 minute 20 seconds) video 'Internet to be censored starting today thanks to USA'

Gizmodo has just reported that Belarus Is Now Home to the Internet’s Most Insane Law

Belarus: small. Proud. Kvass-drinking. A long history of dubious human rights and piddling dictatorship. And now, bound to a law that makes it illegal to browse foreign websites.

According to the Library of Congress, the new law, which makes SOPA look like a lollipop handout, might make hitting Facebook a little tricky outside of home. Essentially, any "company" or "entrepreneur"—left to be defined broadly—has to use Belarusian internets:

The Law requires that all companies and individuals who are registered as entrepreneurs in Belarus use only domestic Internet domains for providing online services, conducting sales, or exchanging email messages. It appears that business requests from Belarus cannot be served over the Internet if the service provider is using online services located outside of the country. The tax authorities, together with the police and secret police, are authorized to initiate, investigate, and prosecute such violations.

Additionally, the Law states that the owners and administrators of Internet caf├ęs or other places that offer access to the Internet might be found guilty of violating this Law and fined and their businesses might be closed if users of Internet services provided by these places are found visiting websites located outside of Belarus and if such behavior of the clients was not properly identified, recorded, and reported to the authorities. The Law states that this provision may apply to private individuals if they allow other persons to use their home computers for browsing the Internet.

Review the paper by Jonathan L. Zittrain, “The Generative Internet,” 119 Harvard Law Review 1974 (2006).. Then take a close look at SOPA. His book, The Future of the Internet—And How to Stop It
available for download under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share-Alike 3.0 license.

Washington's June 17, 2011 blog post 'Everything We're Doing Now Was Planned BEFORE 9/11': “The Patriot Act was planned before 9/11 . Indeed, former Counter Terrorism Czar Richard Clarke told Stanford law professor Lawrence Lessig:

After 9/11 the government drew up the Patriot Act within 20 days and it was passed. The Patriot Act is huge and I remember someone asking a Justice Department official how did they write such a large statute so quickly, and of course the answer was that it has been sitting in the drawers of the Justice Department for the last 20 years waiting for the event where they would pull it out.”

Could “frightening” Intellectual Property theft “malaware” be what COICA, SOPA, PIPA (and possibly new others) all be posture as fixes? Along Lawrence Lessig's Code 2.0 (pp. 76) Quote:-
"That there is malware on the Internet isn’t surprising. That it is growing isn’t surprising either. What is surprising is that, so far at least, this malware has not been as destructive as it could be. Given the ability of malware authors to get their malicious code on many machines very quickly, why haven’t more tried to do real harm?
For example, imagine a worm that worked itself onto a million machines, and in a synchronized attack, simultaneously deleted the hard drive of all million machines. Zittrain’s point is not that this is easy, but rather, that it is just as difficult as the kind of worms that are already successfully spreading themselves everywhere. So why doesn’t one of the malicious code writers do real damage? What’s stopping cyber-Armageddon?
The answer is that there’s no good answer. And when there’s no good explanation for why something hasn’t happened yet, there’s good reason to worry that it will happen. And when this happens—when a malware author produces a really devastatingly destructive worm—that will trigger the political resolve to do what so far governments have not done: push to complete the work of transforming the Net into a regulable space.
This is the crucial (and once you see it, obvious) insight of Z-theory. Terror motivates radical change. Think about, for example, the changes in law enforcement (and the protection of civil rights) effected by the “Patriot Act.” This massively extensive piece of legislation was enacted 45 days after the terror attacks on 9/11. But most of that bill had been written long before 9/11.
The authors knew that until there was a serious terrorist attack, there would be insufficient political will to change law enforcement significantly. But once the trigger of 9/11 was pulled, radical change was possible.
The same will be true of the Internet. The malware we’ve seen so far has caused great damage. We’ve suffered this damage as annoyance rather than threat. But when the Internet’s equivalent of 9/11 happens—whether sponsored by “terrorists” or not—annoyance will mature into political will. And that political will will produce real change.
Zittrain’s aim is to prepare us for that change. His powerful and extensive analysis works through the trade-offs we could make as we change the Internet into something less generative. And while his analysis is worthy of a book of its own, I’ll let him write it. My goal in pointing to it here is to provide an outline to an answer that plugs the hole in the theory of Code v1. Code v1 described the means. Z-theory provides the motive.”
I wonder how many worse than dubious human rights and piddling dictatorships countries can't wait for US to enact SOPA-PIPA (and the likes) to immediately "replicate" suppression on their national laws? - Excusing themselves as "Protecting Intellectual Property along 'contemporary global best practices'"?

Hope have highlighted Africa's Free Expression advocates' concerns with US SOPA-PIPA types of expression muzzling legislations.

UPDATE: Jeremy Jahns - "Protect IP Act (SOPA) is Internet Censorship and Must Be Stopped!"

UPDATE 2: 10 January, 2012 The below videos added on 10 January, 2012

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