Good news on SOPA

Darrell Issa, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Reform, has announced that the Committee will hold a hearing on January 18 to “examine the potential impact of Domain Name Service (DNS) and search engine blocking on American cyber-security, jobs and the Internet community” in light of SOPA proposals. He lists a roster of witnesses with actual technology skills. This contrasts with the virtual absence of such expertise in the formal SOPA hearings to date.

Tech quote of the day

Now, it may seem like SOPA [the U.S. Stop Online Piracy Act] is the end game in a long fight over copyright, and the Internet, and it may seem like if we defeat SOPA, we’ll be well on our way to securing the freedom of PCs and networks. But as I said at the beginning of this talk, this isn’t about copyright, because the copyright wars are just the 0.9 beta version of the long coming war on computation. The entertainment industry were just the first belligerents in this coming century-long conflict. We tend to think of them as particularly successful — after all, here is SOPA, trembling on the verge of passage, and breaking the internet on this fundamental level in the name of preserving Top 40 music, reality TV shows, and Ashton Kutcher movies!

Freedom in the future will require us to have the capacity to monitor our devices…to maintain them as honest servants to our will, and not as traitors and spies working for criminals, thugs, and control freaks. And we haven’t lost yet, but we have to win the copyright wars to keep the Internet and the PC free and open. Because these are the materiel in the wars that are to come, we won’t be able to fight on without them. And I know this sounds like a counsel of despair, but as I said, these are early days. We have been fighting the mini-boss, and that means that great challenges are yet to come… we may yet win the battle, and secure the ammunition we’ll need for the war.

— Cory Doctorow, from his speech The Coming War on General Computation, presented at 28C3,the Chaos Computer Congress in Berlin, Dec. 26, 2011.(via Quotation of the Day Mailing List)