Congressional Internet Censorship?

The Internet could change right before our eyes while we try to navigate the web as we know it.  Currently under consideration in Congress, and soon the Senate, are two bills that would in effect censor the web in all new ways.

SOPA was introduced in October with strong support from the Chamber of Commerce, leading film and music industry executives and support from both sides of the aisle.

The bill claims it will stop online piracy, but civic activists and law professionals have stressed that it would give corporations unprecedented power to censor almost any site on the internet, thereby stifling free speech online.  A similar bill in the Senate known as the PROTECT IP Act takes it one step further.

Proponents suggest that the Attorney General use what is called the “information location tool” which was borrowed from the “Digital Millennium Copyright Act”.  This Act is understood to refer to search engines but could also include other sites that link to content.

The Protect IP Act says that an “information location tool shall take technically feasible and reasonable measures, as expeditiously as possible, to remove or disable access to the Internet site associated with the domain name set forth in the order”.  In addition, it must delete all hyperlinks to the offending “Internet site”.  The supporters of these two bills are working hard to see the bills passed before the end of the year.

President Obama has said that any bill that comes to his desk for approval under these guidelines will be denied, but the supporters of these bills and the major financial backing behind them are determined to see the Internet be less of a free market setting and more of a profit for big business environment.

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