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Internet Society Joins Chorus of Those Opposing SOPA

IsoclogoYesterday the Internet Society formally joined the opposition to the Stop Online Piracy Act (a.k.a. "SOPA" - background info available) with a statement from the Internet Society Board of Trustees:


The statement says in part:

The Internet Society Board of Trustees has expressed concern with a number of U.S. legislative proposals that would mandate DNS blocking and filtering by ISPs to protect the interests of copyright holders. While the Internet Society agrees that combating illicit online activity is an important public policy objective, these critical issues must be addressed in ways that do not undermine the viability of the Internet as a platform for innovation across all industries by compromising its global architecture. The Internet Society Board of Trustees does not believe that the Protect-IP Act (PIPA) and Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) are consistent with these basic principles.

Specifically, the Internet Society is concerned with provisions in both bills regarding Domain Name System (DNS) filtering. DNS filtering is often proposed as a way to block illegal content consumption by end users. Yet policies to mandate DNS filtering will be ineffective for that purpose and will interfere with cross-border data flows and services undermining innovation and social development across the globe.

The statement goes on in further detail to outline the organization's concerns.

The opposition of the Internet Society to SOPA is not a surprise given that the organization issued a white paper on the perils of DNS Filtering back in the spring of 2011 in response to the U.S. Senate's version of the bill, the Protect-IP Act (a.k.a. "PIPA"). Still, a formal statement of opposition is very welcome to add to the many other voices indicating that SOPA and PIPA specify the wrong solutions to the problem.

Great to see!

[Full Disclosure: I am employed by the Internet Society but NOT in the public policy section and so all opinions expressed here are entirely my own and do not necessarily represent the views of the organization.]

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