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The Internet Piracy United States Politics Your Rights Online

A Free Internet, If You Can Keep It 102

Posted by Soulskill
from the you-can-keep-it-but-you're-in-charge-of-feeding-it dept.
Kethinov writes "My Congresswoman, Zoe Lofgren, a prominent opponent of the infamous Stop Online Piracy Act, has introduced two bills to the U.S. House of Representatives designed to protect the free and open internet, expand the protections of the Fourth Amendment to digital communications, and protect against the introduction of any further SOPA-like bills. Since these are issues Slashdotters care deeply about, I wanted to open up the bills for discussion on Slashdot. The bills are: ECPA 2.0 and the Global Free Internet Act. Is my Congresswoman doing a good job? Is there room for improvement in the language of the bills? If you're as excited by her work as I am, please reach out to your representatives as well and ask them to work with Rep. Lofgren. It will take a big coalition to beat the pro-RIAA/MPAA establishment politics on internet regulation."
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A Free Internet, If You Can Keep It

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 16, 2012 @11:00AM (#42001903)

    As a euroboy I can only urge you Americans to support politicans like this. Your political system seems bent and broken to me but this is a glimmer of hope at least. Keep fighting for your freedoms, they seem to dictate the direction the rest of us get herded.

    • by ShanghaiBill (739463) on Friday November 16, 2012 @11:29AM (#42002311)

      As a euroboy I can only urge you Americans to support politicans like this.

      Zoe represents California's 16th district. It consists of most of the city of San Jose (where I live), Santa Clara, and Morgan Hill. It is probably the nerdiest congressional district in the country. People here care about this stuff, but it is not even on the radar of most politicians.

      • by Joce640k (829181) on Friday November 16, 2012 @11:32AM (#42002363) Homepage

        People here care about this stuff, but it is not even on the radar of most politicians.

        The point is you now have an official chance to get it on their radar. I hope you're not going to let it pass.

      • by ShakaUVM (157947)

        >Zoe represents California's 16th district. It consists of most of the city of San Jose (where I live), Santa Clara, and Morgan Hill. It is probably the nerdiest congressional district in the country. People here care about this stuff, but it is not even on the radar of most politicians.

        I watched the SOPA markup live. There were exactly three committee members fighting against it, or trying to patch it to make it less terrible. These were: Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), Darrell Issa (R-CA), and Jason Chaffetz (R-UT

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 16, 2012 @11:34AM (#42002395)

      As an American I would ask Europeans to please not tell Americans you support this. In fact, it'd really help if you come out strongly against this. Say Americans have to conform to the world view or something like that. Basically say whatever you'd normally say about the environment but replace the environment with Internet censorship. Thanks.

    • by SirGarlon (845873) on Friday November 16, 2012 @11:41AM (#42002483)

      As Winston Churchill reputedly once put it, "America can always be relied upon to do the right thing ... after exhausting all the alternatives."

      It took me about two decades of voting and following US politics to appreciate the full meaning of that. How can something simultaneously fill me with pride and exasperation? (I'll guess find out when I have kids.)

      • by Anonymous Coward

        How can something simultaneously fill me with pride and exasperation? (I'll guess find out when I have kids.)

        Yes. (But it's worth it.)

    • Your political system seems bent and broken to me

      Compared to what, out of curiosity? I don't think anyone would argue that the political system here is perfect and there is no room for improvement, but to me there don't seem to be a whole lot of good models to follow. Sweden is about the only country that really seems to consistently be better than the US in the political system. Most of the rest of the world seems like examples of what not to do. The UK, France, and Germany seem 50-50.

      • by Ardyvee (2447206)

        That it's broken doesn't mean there is a better alternative out there. You can objectively tell when an engine is "broken" (doesn't work), regardless of there being a better alternative out there. Then again, you're also right the rest of the world is probably broken too!

    • by Maltese Falcon (11786) on Friday November 16, 2012 @11:53AM (#42002635)

      This post says nothing untrue or insulting. He states a fact, our political system is bent and broken (in reality, they all are, just in different degrees. The second point he makes is to encourage us in supporting those U.S. politicians who act as Rep. Lofgren has here... to try to preserve and strengthen our freedoms and liberties, because as he basically said, the world looks to us. As the U.S. goes, so does the rest of the world.

    • She'll be assassinated soon by big movie.
    • by Obfuscant (592200)

      Keep fighting for your freedoms, they seem to dictate the direction the rest of us get herded.

      This would have been a perfect time to repeal the nonsensical limitations on scanner radios that were based on analog cellphones and the desire of people who were using RADIO systems to keep other people with radios from hearing them. This mandated gap in coverage is no longer justifiable, yet it remains on the books.

    • Lofgren represents Northern California with the tech and Internet companies. They have a monied interest in an open Internet, naturally you'd think that their paid congresscritter fights for that. This bill falls right into that. However, back in 2002 she introduced a bill that would invalidate EULAs. That would seriously anger this core constituency. It really seems that she's looking out for us.

      Well, at least in this one respect (she still promotes institutional racism, unequal protection under the law, a

    • by tbird81 (946205)

      I'm not from the US. But their system seems a hell of a lot better than the European system of having a undemocratic umbrella group controlling what every country does.

  • Awesome (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    This is exciting that a member of Congress is doing this, I will reach out to my local representatives and ask them to support this.

  • "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized." This applies to personal emails and other effects but it is not license to take others intellectual property and do with as you like. We need to defend intellectual property as
    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      No....the Fourth Amendment doesn't apply to personal email and that is one of the major points of ECPA 2.0. Right now, if your personal email is not in an "electronic communications system for one hundred and eighty days or less," it is receiving virtually no privacy protections at all. Even if it hasn't been 180 days yet, that communication could still be handed over by your service provider. How many governmental requests did Google/Gmail receive this past year....?

      The Senator is right (from TFA): "the de

      • You're correct it doesn't.

        I should have said the 4th A *SHOULD* apply to email and posts hosted elsewhere.
    • This applies to personal emails and other effects but it is not license to take others intellectual property and do with as you like.

      What the hell are you talking about, and how is it relevant to the story?

      We need to defend intellectual property as well as our own privacy.

      And judging from your comment, you propose to do that by... invading people's privacy for 'safety'? But no, I don't really want the government to waste my tax dollars going after people who copy files.

      • No. I'm not defending the idiotic decisions by German courts, nor am I defending SOPA, ACTA or other ridiculous bills.

        Unfortunately there are people who think that intellectual property is nonsense; that there should be no copyright laws. The post on the 4th A was written too quickly. It should have said that the 4th A *SHOULD* apply to papers and effects such as emails. I'm a big privacy fan and am appalled by the direction our society is going. For example that Facebook owns the content written there
    • "This applies to personal emails and other effects but it is not license to take others intellectual property and do with as you like."

      There is no such thing as "intellectual property". There is copyright, patent, and trademark law. These were created for various policy reasons most of which no longer exist or were never valid in the first place.

      • Here I thought copyright, patent and trademark law existed to protect intellectual property. Now -- I am NOT defending all the stupidity and abuses done in the name of intellectual property. I am however defending the idea that what people create is theirs and cannot be copied at whim by others. Can you pass someone else's work as your own (plagiarism) and not expect to get called on it? No. Because that music, movie, book was created by someone else. It is not yours.
  • by Reverand Dave (1959652) on Friday November 16, 2012 @11:09AM (#42002027)
    It would be great if I could get my congressmen to do something like this, or even support something like this, but they are so far up the ass of their corporate masters they can brush the CEO's teeth without him ever opening his mouth.
    • by geekoid (135745)

      Becasue you have talked to them? Or becasue you are a lazy do nothing and just put headlines into your own preconceived context?

      • Because I've watched their votes and they are never in the interest of the people they represent. (pro SOPA and PIPA, Anti-net neutrality)

        Because they have closed door sessions with lobbyists that support issues not relevant to my state.

        Because they are mostly anti-tax, tea-bagger, jag-offs.
        Are you a congressman or something, why the personal attack?
        • Well, if the people of your district continue to reelect them, I would say the problem lies elsewhere. That they may be "anti-tax, tea-bagger, jag-offs" and still win can only mean that they are a fairly accurate reflection of your neighbors. And as for the people they represent, it seems they're doing exactly what is expected. Either way, it's up to you all to replace them with somebody more to your liking.

          • I agree with you 100%, and I will continue to try to get someone else elected. For now though, they are still assholes and are most of the rural residents of the state that keep re-electing these guys.
  • by Stolpskott (2422670) on Friday November 16, 2012 @11:10AM (#42002033)

    My spelling gives it away, probably... I am a Brit living outside the US. But Congresswoman Lofgren's approach is one that would go a long way to winning my vote, if I was living in San Jose and was eligible to vote.
    If you are in her Congressional District and you agree with her stance, I would suggest sending her a message of support (let her know that she is doing a Good Thing... she is not a mind-reader, and positive feedback is always welcomed).
    If you are not in her Congressional District, I would suggest sending your Congress-person a request to get behind her proposal, and also sending her a letter to say that you support her stance, and you have asked your Congress-person to do the same.

    • If you are not in her Congressional District, I would suggest sending your Congress-person a request to get behind her proposal...

      My state's congress creatures are so pro-corporate and police state as to make Eugene McCarthy now look like a centrist.

  • This seems like a throw-away bill. There is no chance it will make it to the president's desk before congress closes for the year and all bills have to start over.

    • This won't even make it out of committee unfortunately.
      • by tylikcat (1578365)

        Which is addressed in her discussion of the bills and why she is introducing them now.

      • This won't even make it out of committee unfortunately.

        Which committee? If any of my congress-critters are members, I'll crawl up their asses and set up camp until these bills get to the floor.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    In our Orwellian nation, I regard with suspicion any legislation claiming to preserve 'freedom.' Too often, names like "Global Free Internet Act" end up being cover for precisely the opposite.

    Perhaps I am not being fair here (and I don't have the time to read the impenetrable language of the bills), bit long experience has taught me to be this way.

    • Re:Orwell (Score:4, Insightful)

      by compro01 (777531) on Friday November 16, 2012 @12:28PM (#42003031)

      Zoe appears to be good people. She lead opposition to SOPA and against PCIPA's data retention requirements. I don't like that she supported the Sonny Bono act, but her proposed Public Domain Enhancement Act (Which would require periodic renewal of copyrights after 50 years, though that bill has gone nowhere) redeems her somewhat.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Don't make the Mafia (one "a") look bigger than they are! The last time I checked, the whole global music industry made less in revenue than a single broke German construction company (Holzwinkel) made profit.
    And the by far biggest part of that was iTunes.

    It's not much different with the other media distribution and artist extortion industries.

    They just have a giant overblown ego. (Judging from what I've seen with EMI, SonyBMG, and Warner, my only guess would be massive cocaine abuse.)
    And they project that

    • They have disproportionate influence compared to their financial clout, because the media are the means of communication with the people, and politicians find this both enticing and threatening at the same time.

  • by Saxophonist (937341) on Friday November 16, 2012 @11:35AM (#42002425)

    I took a look at both bills. I'm not optimistic.

    I would need to dig more into the ECPA 2.0 bill, but there are, at a minimum, some technical problems with the bill's language. The purpose seems to be to abolish GPS tracking, but the language is weasel-y, and it needs to clarify some points such as interaction with state laws.

    The Global Free Internet Act appears to do nothing useful. It would create a task force ripe for regulatory capture [wikipedia.org], and it would probably result in less accountability than having groups continue to lobby Congress. Also, some of the factual statements about the Internet are incorrect, especially when making assumptions about the Internet's "original purpose."

    I'm not saying that we couldn't have quality legislation in these areas, but the proposed bills are lacking.

    • by Phantom of the Opera (1867) on Friday November 16, 2012 @12:14PM (#42002853) Homepage
      Do you think its writing is better or worse than the typical bill?

      Do you think its real purpose id different than its stated intent?

      If we really want this bill, and really want it in a good fashion, we should make a wiki collaboration of it. Of course I am saying that, and it takes energy, and I'm heading off to work at the moment.
      • In this case, to me, the bills just look ineptly written. That's to be expected, in a way; writing bills is not especially easy, and it usually takes a collaboration of people to look at all the possibilities and get it right. Unfortunately, sometimes that collaboration introduces corruption into the bill as well, since certain legislators will work for special interests. I don't think these bills are any different from others in this way.

        I don't know how federal bills get written. In my state, where I

        • by aicrules (819392)
          The axiom "Never apply to malice what can be attributed to stupidity" applies in reverse for laws like this. What may look like an ineptly written law is more likely meant to hide true, and nefarious purpose. Maybe it's not in this case, but that's my assumption. Global in the title worries me...internet does span the globe, but this is a US law. Don't want to bring the globe into it. I think an acceptable new version of the law would be titled Free Internet Act and would simply read: No law shall be
  • by crow (16139) on Friday November 16, 2012 @11:41AM (#42002493) Homepage Journal

    It would be nice to have someone with a degree of credibility look at this legislation and report on how useful it really is. That's exactly the sort of thing that the EFF should be doing. Have they reviewed it?

  • I've been thinking for a little while that it would be interesting to apply the wiki concept of communal editing to legislative proposals. This might be a good opportunity to start, since so many slashdotters will interested. Someone could set up a project and allow anyone to edit the Congresswoman's bill. Then when there is some kind of consensus, it can be submitted to her so she can pursue it further. Any volunteers?
    • I would take it one further - the problem with wiki's is that they have a first-come, first served model, and the last edit wins.

      What you really want is to load the text of the bill into a git repository. Each user interested in amending the bill does so, pushes their branch, and proposes it for merging (with Gerrit or something similar).

      A web interface that permitted you to do the branching and editing would be great too.

      This sort of thing has already been done with things like the law of Utah, but mostly

    • by mjr167 (2477430)
      Can we then also have American Idol style elections? Each week we vote a candidate off after making them dance for our amusement...
  • Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength...

    Just take everything a bill is named for and reverse it and you get it's true goals.

    SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) wouldnt have stopped Piracy but proliferated it.

    Any time a a politician brings a think of the children arguement what they really are thinking about it corporate interests, etc...

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