Friday, January 20, 2012

Steven Titch on SOPA and PIPA for Non-Techies

Following a link from The Technology Liberation Front I ran across the a post from Steve Titch "SOPA and PIPA for Non-Techies" on the Reason Foundation webpage.  His post very clearly articulated that our legal system is now focusing on passing laws that criminalize everyday activities. To paraphrase, lawmakers are criminalizing everyday activities rather than insist that law enforcement actually investigate a case against a suspected criminal.
SOPA and PIPA are the latest and most egregious example of an alarming political trend: instead of strengthening enforcement against actual crimes, lawmakers instead criminalize everyday activities that by nature lend indirect support. Rather than demanding police build a case against real money-launderers, Louisiana lawmakers made cash transactions illegal.  Instead of finding a drunk driver guilty, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that the defendant could sue the bar owner who sold him the drinks. Congress couldn't muster the political will to pass a law against Internet poker, so it made it illegal for a licensed bank to transfer funds to a licensed gambling site.
Additionally many of these new laws also require that third parties act as an extension of law enforcement.  As an onerous example CNET posted an article:  "Federal rules on campus file sharing kick in today". In short, universities would be required to spy (wiretap) on student internet traffic for infringement. No due process or warrant. At the Republican Debate of January 19, 2012 Ron Paul spoke out in opposition to this type of legislation.

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