I speak of the internet, which is truly an engine of awesome. Think for a moment how it enriches your life, bequeaths knowledge, entertains and interconnects.
It is a device for which none compares.
It is also a threat, a disruption of power and status quo. It removes control from those that have traditionally been able to direct the populace. Yes, it may sound a foolishly romantic notion, but it’s true. One only has to look at how hard governments like China or those in the Middle East fight so hard to maintain a fragile, fleeting control over the content and ideas stored in simple ones and zeros, spread globally across an ephemeral network of computers.
The assault on the internet by government and corporate interest, to regain and assert control over content and ideas has been in overdrive for the past few years. First ACTA (which is still floating out there) and now COICA.
In short, COICA allows the US Attorney General to create two lists. One is a blacklist that must be enforced by ISPs. The other is a suggested list that web sites could end up on, for any reason or bias, that ISPs are recommended to block. This is censorship at its worst.
COICA was unanimously passed by the Senate Judiciary Committee on November 18th.
That word has never looked uglier.
Enter one Senator Ron Wyden (D) of Oregon. He may very well have saved the internet by placing a hold on the pending bill. I have no idea what Wyden’s record is on anything else, but for this act he should be thanked.
It’s alarming just how close we run to losing one of the most fantastic methods of communication developed by our species. In the words of Maxwell Smart, “Missed us by that much.”