Hilary Clinton tells world leaders, "hands off the Internet"; US government prepares its own censorship regime

Hillary Clinton's in The Hague, telling world leaders not to censor the Internet.

Mrs. Clinton, in her remarks, also cited efforts by countries to change the way the Internet — now largely self-regulated and globally interconnected — is governed. Although she did not name the countries, Russia, China, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan introduced a draft resolution at the United Nations this year that would allow greater government control over the Internet in individual countries. The United States opposes the resolution.

Mrs. Clinton said such a proposal would undermine the very nature of the Internet. "They aim to impose a system, cemented in a global code, that expands control over Internet resources, institutions and content and centralizes that control in the hands of the government," she said.

Meanwhile, the US government is set to pass SOPA, a censorship law that gives America the power to censor and shutter any website in the world. In case you're wondering how that might work, have a look at what happened with Dajaz1.com.

Dajaz1.com is a hiphop blog that was seized by ICE and the Justice Department a year ago, on the basis of incompetent research by a new hire fresh out of college and some lying affadavits from the RIAA (who claimed, among other things, that they represented the copyrights of companies who are not RIAA members).

Dajaz1.com was sent music by hiphop labels, who begged them to post it — they even got requests from the VP of one label — and was a powerhouse in the hiphop world, appearing on Vibe's list of top hiphop blogs.

ICE and Justice got it wrong with Dajaz1.com, taking down the site and posting a big notice explaining that the site had been seized because its owners were crooks. For a year, the government refused to allow any hearings or appeals to their decision, using a secretive sealed procedure to get the courts to extend the period during which they could keep the seized property without a hearing. Dajaz1.com's lawyers were never informed of these sealed procedures, and were not allowed to participate in them.

Now, a year later, the feds have given Dajaz1.com back, without apology or compensation.

If that sounds like madness — if it sounds like the kind of high-handed, censorious BS that Hilary Clinton is telling the world leaders to eschew — then consider this: SOPA makes this routine. It makes it easy. It makes it universal. It will magnify this sort of criminal injustice a thousandfold, and then multiply it again.

Fundamental human rights — the right to free speech and free assembly — should not be subordinated to the entertainment industry's desire to maximize their profits. If Hilary wants to keep the Internet free, let her talk to Congress first.

(Thanks, tedweinstein, and via Making Light)