The debate for net neutrality has come and gone through Congress over the past couple of years. While conservative members of the House and Senate wanted corporations to make more money, the public showed their disgust at the bill. While that piece of legislation was sponsored by the large Internet providers of the country, there is a new bill taking serious consideration amongst lawmakers called the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA).
Democrats and Republicans are both jumping on the bandwagon to co-sponsor these bills. In the face of a major budget crisis and record levels of unemployment, these politicians are looking for a distraction to get their poll numbers up for the 2012 election. If this bill passes, the only way you can stand to make money online is through a PayPal account and Chase Freedom credit cards, which will give an unfair advantage to major corporations and large agencies.
If you are thinking about placing controversial content on your blog and keeping a steady stream of ad revenue, you are going to be in for a surprise. Anything that meets the qualifications of piracy or copyright infringement in the loose standards of the RIAA or MPAA will get locked out and blocked by enormous government censors.
Reuters reports that the legislation would require search engines to block all access to questionable content. Eric Schmidt, former CEO of Google, has stated that the bill is draconian and seriously impedes any progress we as a society have made to make information more freely available.
While this author is not condoning piracy, the number of backlinks and social media accounts that might be influenced by sites deemed inappropriate will drastically limit the amount of information available on the Internet. Imagine a large blogging system like WordPress or Tumblr has a questionable account according to the new laws. Instead of shutting down the one site in question, the whole network would get shut down until resolution was made.
In response to the debates in Congress, Mozilla, Reddit, and Tumblr have voluntarily censored their websites in order to show what could happen if the bill passes. An article on Mashable illustrates how these major proponents of open Internet sourcing blocked out entire portions of their sites in order to prove a point.
The Internet has become the Wild West of free and unfiltered communication. Since the 1990s activists and radicals have been able to spread their messages online without the gatekeepers the mainstream media has put in place. If this bill passes, we could be seeing the same level of Internet control as China and Saudi Arabia, only domestically and without the need of no foreign transaction fee credit cards.
This was a guest post by Saul from Search Writer.