Okay. So far, the proponents of the Stop Online Piracy Act (PROTECT IP) have heard opposition from big time tech names like Sergey Brin, security software companies and former members of the Business Software Alliance, Wikipedia's Jimmy Wales, the entire fighting force of Mozilla, hundreds of tech startup entrepreneurs, and one angry British rapper.
But now, SOPA pushers, you've gone and done something really bad. You pissed off a MythBuster.
Adam Savage, one member of the popular Discovery Channel science team, has unveiled his thoughts on the SOPA legislation in a spirited piece in Popular Mechanics (a publication for which he is a contributor).
The piece starts on a fairly serious note, as Savage claims that the legislation would be "laughable if it wasn't in fact real." He continues, "Honestly, if a friend wrote these into a piece of fiction about government oversight gone amok, I'd have to tell them that they were too one-dimensional, too obviously anticonstitutional."
He makes a point to say that SOPA is far beyond unconstitutional - it's anticonstitutional. This argument echoes points raised by numerous concerned parties. SOPA doesn't just run afoul of some principles set out in the Bill of Rights, it actually contains language that is in direct conflict with those core values.
Give people a club like this and you can kiss the Internet as you know it goodbye. It's really that bad. And it's a clear violation of our First Amendment right to free speech.
The Internet is probably the most important technological advancement of my lifetime. Its strength lies in its open architecture and its ability to allow a framework where all voices can be heard. Like the printing press before it (which states also tried to regulate, for centuries), it democratizes information, and thus it democratizes power. If we allow Congress to pass these draconian laws, we'll be joining nations like China and Iran in filtering what we allow people to see, do, and say on the Web.
And we're better than that.
Well said. But are we better than that? Maybe a lot of us. But it's clear that the interests that control some in power look to be no better than that.
In other SOPA news, the We The People White House petition to veto SOPA has destroyed its threshold and amassed over 32,000 signatures in less than three days. Although there's probably reason to be skeptical about its possible impact.[Image Courtesy Discovery fansite]