Why SOPA and PIPA are incapable of helping, while still dangerous

Uncategorized Add comments

SOPA and PIPA are two attempted bills in the US that seek to stop online piracy.  These two acts are incapable of actually stopping piracy, yet remain fully capable of an “internet death-penalty” against innocent sites.

Consider arriving in a strange, new city during the era of prohibition.  In order to find stores, markets, and local associates, you pick up two telephone guides.  Remember the White Pages and Yellow Pages?  Consider those as your resources, except that your phonebooks update instantly.

You’re able to look up your friend Mike, who has invited you to dinner.  His address is in the white pages, telling you “Mike Smith: 123 Main St”, and you know how to get there.  Mike lives above a tailoring shop, and has a market nearby, which you’re able to find to buy some beef enroute to dinner.

What about a bottle of wine?  That would be nice, but it’s prohibition, everything with any alcohol is illegal.

On the way to Mike’s, beef in-hand (a couple of excellent steaks), you notice that the tailor shop below him is closed, yet many people keep entering and leaving.  That’s odd.  Mike is happy to see you when you get to his door, and he makes a great dinner; he suggests doing so again next week.

Next week, Pork’s on the menu, but you have to look up the market again.  You wrote down the name (Joey’s Eastside Butcher) and your whitepages tell you where it is.  Mike tells you on the phone to be careful, police have detected that the Tailor shop is a Speak-Easy, and is illegal.  As a lawful citizen, despite that you’d like a drink occasionally, you tend to stay away from that sort of place anyhow.

Off to the butcher’s, but wait… where’s Mike’s place?  The whitepages no longer list his building at all.  From your always-updated whitepages, Mike’s entire building is gone.  You ask a friend, they have one that doesn’t update as quickly, and it shows that last week, Mike’s address was 123 Main St.  yeah, that’s right.  Another friend has a version of whitepages from Germany, and although in a different language, it does show the local city, and it agrees: Mike’s address is still 123 Main St.  Good thing you wrote down Mike’s phone number itself rather than his name, or you’d lose all contact with Mike.  You should get yourself a German phonebook, or use one that doesn’t delete entries, just adds them.

Arriving at Mike’s building, you notice that the Speak-Easy is doing a brisk trade.  It hasn’t been shut down!  The police haven’t lifted a finger, just “hid” it by removing Mike’s building from the whitepages.  Everyone who goes there often knows exactly where it is; if they haven’t, they’ve written down the phone number already, or have it on speed-dial.

This is how these new bills work: they don’t stop crime, they simply allow it to become unlisted quickly, without any recourse, any due-process.  They just make it harder to find, quickly.  The internet whitepages is called “DNS”, and is controlled by many different countries.  DNS updates take up to 72 hours to occur, and even after that time, the services are still open.  Anyone using these services knows where to find them without having to look them up, but if they need to, they can use alternative listings to find the same address.  The piracy isn’t even affected, it continues unabated, but common people are affected: new arrivals at a website or an interest group, and those who have to find their websites when they move (which happens about as frequently as people change homes)

Worse, with some allusion to Brazil, and perhaps to some implementations of photo-radar speed-traps, there’s no double-checking of errors, no due-process.  Due to an error, not only is a building, and all it’s businesses gone, while they are barely making it through the recession.  I’m sure the people who think this is a good idea are not the small businesses and private citizens who can vanish immediately due to error.  … and we know the Department of Homeland Security makes no mistakes.

Would you give the “Internet Kill Switch” to the TSA?

Criminals will simply go to other countries’ DNS, or just use the numbers, leaving only the lawful to be the victims of bad legislation and the zealots who support it.

Crime should be stopped by actually stopping crime, not by making it and its innocent neighbours into unlisted addresses.

Leave a Reply

WP Theme & Icons by N.Design Studio
Entries RSS Comments RSS Log in