Sen. Wyden discusses bills threatening the Internet

By Eric W. Dolan
Tuesday, November 29, 2011 23:17 EDT
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Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) appeared Tuesday night on Countdown with Keith Olbermann to discuss controversial legislation that could fundamentally change the structure of the Internet.

The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) would make it easier for U.S. authorities to crack down on websites accused of pirating movies, television shows and music. It would allow the government and copyright owners to disable the credit card processors of sites they claim “engages in, enables or facilitates” copyright infringement.

The legislation is a companion bill to the controversial PROTECT IP Act, which is currently stuck in the Senate after Wyden placed a hold on the bill in May.

“This bill essentially uses a bunker-buster bomb when you ought to go in there with a laser beam,” Wyden said.

“The fact of the matter is, if you’re talking about bad actors you ought to handcuff them. If they’re selling tainted viagra or fake Rolexs or movies they don’t own, go after them.

“But these bills you’ve just described go much, much further. They would do a lot of damage to what we believe makes the Internet so special,” he said.

The legislation is so broad it could be used to target online anonymity tools used by human rights activists, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation. The software Tor, for instance, which has been used to protect activists in Tunisia and Egypt, could be targeted because it can be used to hide one’s IP address when illegally downloading copyrighted content.

Because of the legal trouble it would cause for a huge number of websites, Wyden described the bill as a “lawyer employment program.”

He plans to filibuster the legislation — with the help of the Internet.

Watch video, courtesy of Current TV, below:

Eric W. Dolan
Eric W. Dolan
Eric W. Dolan has served as an editor for Raw Story since August 2010, and is based out of Sacramento, California. He grew up in the suburbs of Chicago and received a Bachelor of Science from Bradley University. Eric is also the publisher and editor of PsyPost. You can follow him on Twitter @ewdolan.
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