How SOPA will attack the Internet's infrastructure and security

The Electronic Frontier Foundation is continuing its series of in-depth analysis of the Stop Online Piracy Act, the most dangerous piece of Internet legislation ever introduced, which is set to be fast-tracked through Congress by Christmas. Today, EFF's Corynne McSherry and Peter Eckersley look at the way that SOPA attacks innovation and the integrity of Internet infrastructure.

In this new bill, Hollywood has expanded its censorship ambitions. No longer content to just blacklist entries in the Domain Name System, this version targets software developers and distributors as well. It allows the Attorney General (doing Hollywood or trademark holders' bidding) to go after more or less anyone who provides or offers a product or service that could be used to get around DNS blacklisting orders. This language is clearly aimed at Mozilla, which took a principled stand in refusing to assist the Department of Homeland Security's efforts to censor the domain name system, but we are also concerned that it could affect the open source community, internet innovation, and software freedom more broadly:

* Do you write or distribute VPN, proxy, privacy or anonymization software? You might have to build in a censorship mechanism — or find yourself in a legal fight with the United States Attorney General.

* Even some of the most fundamental and widely used Internet security software, such as SSH, includes built-in proxy functionality. This kind of software is installed on hundreds of millions of computers, and is an indispensable tool for systems administration professionals, but it could easily become a target for censorship orders under the new bill.

* Do you work with or distribute zone files for gTLDs? Want to keep them accurate? Too bad — Hollywood might argue that if you provide a complete (i.e., uncensored) list, you are illegally helping people bypass SOPA orders.

* Want to write a client-side DNSSEC resolver that uses multiple servers until it finds a valid signed entry? Again, you could be in a fight with the U.S. Attorney General.

Hollywood's New War on Software Freedom and Internet Innovation


  1. This is ridiculous. Every time a measure like this is turned away, another three pop up. If  an Electronic Freedom political party existed there is a 95% chance I would vote for it.

    1. Every time a measure like this is turned away, another three pop up. 

      Because they’re not going to quit trying until they succeed or a law is passed to prohibit what they want to do. It’s as simple as that. It just so happens that they’re so desperate that they’re getting multiple angles going at a time.

      1. Even with a measure put in place to prohibit it parties would chew  away. However, it is an interesting idea and I would fully support “offensive” legislation.

  2. I would gladly learn what all of that means if thats what I can do to make this law unenforceable. 

    We’re all sysadmins now.

  3. hopefully the teabagger coalition will view this as “job-killing regulation.”  i wouldn’t count on it though.

  4. amanicdroid is right and it’s really starting to depress me. We have to keep defending our freedoms over and over again but they only have to win once. What will it take to truly stop this kind of useless legislation for good?

    1. We could dispense with the clearly undue burden of requiring actual legislation? Go straight to Fascism, Do not pass GO, do not collect SS.

      (edited for clarification of sarcasm)

      1. Oh sure… that sounds like a splendid idea. While we’re at it why don’t we instate a mandatory sterilization program for religious zealots and political extremists. It’s not like I’ll be able to collect SS by the time I retire anyway.

        In all seriousness however I’m fed up and frustrated. I feel like a hamster on a wheel running as hard as I can to keep in place and nothing I do seems to really effect anything in a positive way. bhtooefr is right. It takes ‘constant vigilance’ but that doesn’t mean I have to like it and the longer it goes on the more tired of it I get.

        1. running as hard as I can

          Keep spreading the information to others so they can run with it.  Running uphill isn’t running in place… it’s still getting somewhere.

    2. Exceute every last neo-classical rentier economist that has a fervent belief in the “knowledge economy”…

  5. This is Batshit Insane,in other words Hollywood wants to target anybody even if their not breaking Copyright Law if I’m understanding this right….its safe to say “Conspiracy Theorists” are right(I’m talking about the sane ones and not Glenn Beck)  I mean my god,what has our country become.

      1. I’m not sure what A Handmaid’s Tale is but I’ll agree with 1984…but hell its like were in 1984 but Over 9000 in Madness Power Level
        (sorry trying to throw some sense of humor in this fucked up topic)

        1.  A Handmaids Tale is a more believable dystopia than 1984. 1984 was exxagerated for effect in the same way the AHT is real for that same effect. Check it out, not just the movie.

  6. This sounds like a good bill to drive innovation and talent out of the States *and* encourage darknets.

    @Geak: Who determines who is a zealot or extremist? We have to apply sterilization equally to the whole of humanity if we want to get to the root of the problem.

  7. Bad But Possibly Useful Analogy: to combat contraband in the physical mail, from now on all USPS, UPS, FexEx and other shipments must by law be in transparent packaging.

  8. I believe its only a matter of time that one of these bills pass. There is too much money wanting to pass the bill, and comparatively little money for the opposistion. That is why when one gets shutdown more bills pop up. They’re just trying to find a way to right the bill that makes it sound like we need it.  Unless we change the whole system, we the people will never be represented.  Only the corporations can afford government representation. If you wanna join the fight against the machine, check out  We’re commin for’em.

  9. Please repost the following on your facebooks:

    THE INTERNET IS UNDER ATTACK. Fighting for our freedom: Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Twitter, Yahoo!, Zynga, AOL, eBay, and Mozilla together issued a joint letter to congress today opposing the SOPA internet censorship bill. They say this is a fight for the future of the internet. REPOST THIS MESSAGE, I want to see you all repost this. Write congress:   sign the petition:   Proof is here:

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