IT Security & Network Security News & Reviews: Google, Wikipedia Lead Protests of SOPA, PIPA Across Web

By Nicholas Kolakowski  |  Posted 2012-01-18 Print this article Print


Google protested SOPA and PIPA by slapping a black bar over the "Google" logo on its search page, and accompanying it with a link reading, "Tell Congress: Please dont censor the web!"
The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and PROTECTIP (PIPA)—currently before the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate, respectively—are the focal points of protests across the Internet by some of the Web's most recognizable sites, including Google and Wikipedia. SOPA and PIPA are designed to stop online piracy by enabling copyright holders to block access to domestic and foreign Websites that are distributing illegal content. However, critics are calling the legislation censorship, saying the laws would let the copyright holders blacklist Websites without (they claim) sufficient due process. Wikipedia, Google, Boing Boing, Reddit and many other popular Web properties either shut down their activities for a daylong period Jan. 18, or replaced their main page with some sort of text or symbol protesting SOPA and PIPA. However, despite the high-profile actions by entities opposed to the legislation, some equally powerful people are throwing their support behind SOPA and PIPA. News Corp. CEO Rupert Murdoch, whose companies produce a significant percentage of the content pillaged by Web pirates and who has been a vocal critic of what he perceives as widespread piracy, pushed back against Google in a Jan. 14 Tweet: "Piracy leader is Google who streams movies free, sells advts around them. No wonder pouring millions into lobbying." The Jan. 18 protests represent among the most united actions to take place across the Web in some time. Whether that sways Congress to kill the legislation entirely is the question. At the moment, officials in the executive branch are sounding a note of caution about the legislation, with U.S. CTO Aneesh Chopra writing in a co-authored note that authorities should avoid anything that could create new cyber-security risks or undermine the Internet's architecture.
Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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