Does A Simple Firefox Add-On Make SOPA Useless?
As the world of SOPA continues to turn, the emergence of a simple Firefox browser add-on may render the potential punitive actions of these protection acts null and void; or, at least ineffective, if not outright useless.
Firefox, which already boasts an outspoken stance against SOPA, and has already shown they are willing to stand by add-on developers who create circumvention extensions designed to go around measures currently employed by Homeland Security, has welcomed a new add-on, one that is designed to circumvent whatever SOPA website blacklists that are created, provided the bills become law.
Working much like the MAFIAAFire Redirector extension, the DeSopa add-on was developed by Tamer Rizk, and designed with SOPA circumvention in mind. Naturally, the idea behind the add-on is to be in defiance of the oft-maligned protection act. This even includes the extension’s name, “DeSopa,” which is short for, “DNS Evasion to Stop Oppressive Policy in America.” On the extension’s page, there’s also a multiple paragraph manifesto of sorts, detailing the developer’s stance.
This program is a proof of concept that SOPA will not help prevent piracy. The program, implemented as a Firefox extension, simply contacts offshore domain name resolution services to obtain the IP address for any desired website, and accesses those websites directly via IP. Similar offshore resolution services will eventually maintain their own cache of websites, without blacklisting, in order to meet the demand created by SOPA.
If SOPA is implemented, thousands of similar and more innovative programs and services will sprout up to provide access to the websites that people frequent. SOPA is a mistake. It does not even technically help solve the underlying problem, as this software illustrates. What it will do is give undue leverage to predatory organizations, cripple innocent third party websites, severely dampen digital innovation and negatively impact the integrity and security of the Internet.
If you’ll notice, the blocked quote also contains a description of how it works and if this is all it takes to sidestep/circumvent/defeat SOPA measures — “[DeSopa] simply contacts offshore domain name resolution services to obtain the IP address for any desired website, and accesses those websites directly via IP” — then these protection acts are worth less than the paper they’re written on.
The sad things is, if you were to point these shortcomings out to the government officials who support SOPA/PIPA, there’s a strong possibility it would get ignored, or they would pass it anyway and worry about the details later.
As far as the inevitable backlash that DeSopa will probably get from concerned government officials, keep in mind, Mozilla has already outspokenly stood by the MAFIAAFire Redirector, so I would expect the same when it comes to DeSopa.