FRONT PAGE CONTRIBUTOR
Tech at Night: Kill SOPA. Now.
Nothing in this post shall be construed to impose a belief that Lamar Smith would round up every American into MPAA-run detention centers if Chris Dodd suggested it would be good for big business.
Does that sound like a stupid way to begin a post, and does it suggest that I’m about to say the opposite? Well, that’s how the Manager’s Amendment version of SOPA starts off, claiming that no matter what the bill says, it’s not a prior restraint on free speech.
Of course, restrictions of results provided by Internet Search Engines amount to just that: prior restraint of their free expression of future results. Google and others, under SOPA, are told what they can or can’t publish before they publish it.
Kill. The. Bill.
And it’s still an affirmative defense that a government order of censorship is technically or economically unreasonable, meaning the burden of proof is on the ISP to show that the government is ordering literally the impossible. This again means that ISPs effectively will have to go out of business if they can’t afford to fight the government in court, and even AT&T couldn’t afford to do that.
SOPA: it’ll kill jobs. It’ll censor the Internet. It’ll turn us from leader to backwater online. GoDaddy backed off of supporting it. Erick Erickson has come out against it, and in favor of primarying those who vote wrongly. Heritage and Beregond add to the forming consensus both against the bill and for an understanding just how dangerous the bill is.
The President, already under fundraising pressure this time around, is being told to veto it anyway. The petition has met his standard and the White House promises a response from Barack Obama. That they’re delaying suggests to me the answer could go either way.
In other news, The administration’s unwillingness to be transparent about LightSquared, as demanded by Chuck Grassley now threatens the proper functioning of the FCC. If Michael Copps quits before Grassley is satisfied, the FCC will shut down.
The FCC needs transparency, too. Suddenly approving a modified version of the AT&T/Qualcomm spectrum deal surprised me, after previous signals that FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski was going to change the rules specially for AT&T.
That said, I still don’t want the FCC to be shut down. As bad as some of their decisions have been, they serve a necessary role. Approving spectrum transfers is important, as is enabling white space use.
I’d rather the FCC opened up about LightSquared. The case the firm has made looks reasonable. Forbes claims the GPS issues are already fixed, but GPS makers simply refuse to make the necessary changes, and would rather simply cut costs at LightSquared’s expense. That’s not fair, if true, and the FCC has nothing to hide if it rules for LightSquared for that reason.
So what are they hiding?