A censor’s work is never done. So, in a civilization where everybody salutes freedom of speech, censors must be especially clever, seeking new ways to hide their goals.
The latest camel’s rump under the tent? A bill to censor entire Internet domains on the grounds of alleged violations of rights that have not been prosecuted. Pending in the Senate and sponsored by Senator Patrick Leahy, it’s called the Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA).
The bill would create two blacklists in response to accusations of copyright violation or sales of counterfeit goods. One would consist of sites to which Internet service providers would be required to block access.
The second would consist of sites to which ISPs would be merely encouraged to block access.
Any chance the government might pressure ISPs to ensure the “voluntary” censorship of disapproved domains . . . including domains with just a few pages of dubious legality but many pages of criticism of government?
Sounding the alarm, the Electronic Frontier Foundation notes that the Digital Millennium Copyright Act already gives copyright holders a means of taking action against copyright violations. The Foundation argues that Leahy’s bill would enable the U.S. to join the ranks of the “profoundly anti-democratic regimes that keep their citizens from seeing the whole Internet.”
The Foundation’s message: “Tell Your Senator: No Website Blacklists, No Internet Censorship!”
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.