We've put it off long enough, and today we'll finally spend time discussing Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), an incendiary bill written by Texas Congressman Lamar Smith that would effectively put an end to any Web site that would "steal America's innovative and creative products, attract more than 53 billion visits a year, and threaten more than 19 million American jobs."… Read more
Three of the Internet's most popular destinations--Google, Wikipedia, and Craigslist--launched an audacious experiment in political activism this evening by urging their users to protest a pair of Hollywood-backed copyright laws.
Wikipedia's English-language pages went completely black at 9 p.m. PT, with a splash page saying "the U.S. Congress is considering legislation that could fatally damage the free and open Internet." The online encyclopedia's blackout, intended to precede next week's Senate floor vote on the legislation, is scheduled to last 24 hours.
Craigslist and Google have taken a more modest approach. Unlike Wikipedia, … Read more
China's Internet user tally is growing by tens of millions of people every year, the China Internet Network Information Center has revealed.
According to Reuters, which obtained a report from the organization and published its results today, China had 505 million Internet users at the end of the November 2011--a figure that exceeds the entire populations of many countries, including the U.S.
What's more, there's nothing but room for that number to grow. According to the Information Center, China's Internet penetration rate is just 37.7 percent. To put that figure into perspective, over … Read more
Iranians have lost the right to surf the Web anonymously at Internet cafes as the government reportedly moves closer to its ultimate goal of replacing the global network with a censored national intranet.
The Iranian Cyber Police published new rules on Wednesday designed to allow officials to know exactly who is visiting what Web sites. Before they can log on, Iranians are required to provide their name, father's name, address, telephone number and national ID, according to an Iranian media report cited by Radio Free Europe. Cafe owners will be required to install security cameras and to keep all … Read more
Beijing's city government has announced new rules that require users of local Twitter-like sites to register their real names with the services for verification by government authorities--a move apparently meant to quash anonymous posts critical of China's leaders and rob dissidents of a tool for organizing protests.
Quoting China's state-run Xinhua news agency, The Wall Street Journal reported that state secrets, material that threatens national security, posts that inspire ethnic resentment or discrimination, and posts involving rallies that "disrupt social order" were also being banned from microblogging sites.
The announcement comes as more and more … Read more
As Cyber Monday draws near and debate continues about the Stop Online Piracy Act, the U.S. government has again seized a bevy of domain names it says belong to Web sites that deal in counterfeit goods.
Blog TorrentFreak ran a list of more than 130 domains it said were seized by the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security's Immigrations and Customs Enforcement division as part of "Operation in Our Sites." TorrentFreak called the move the largest such round of seizures to date.
Most of the domain names suggest sites that traffic in counterfeit … Read more
The more one travels, the more one lives in foreign countries, the more one realizes that not everyone thinks the same way.
This is a good thing. Because if everyone was, say, American, then the whole world would feel more comfortable with violence, rather than sex. Which would have dire consequences for the world's ability to procreate. And recreate.
One wonders, though, whether there are many countries in the world that would support Pakistan banning rude text messages.
Web sites opposed to a federal anti-piracy bill were coming up with some innovative ways of protesting the proposed law, which they claim would allow for Internet censorship. But the protests were interfering with some Web surfers.
In honor of "American Censorship Day," some Web sites were symbolically blacking out their front pages today. The big pop-ups with a darkened background urge people to contact Congress and express opposition to the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA). The House of Representatives held its first hearing on the controversial bill today.
Hollywood studios, the recording industry, large content holders and … Read more
The Stop Online Piracy Act, a controversial nutty, delusional and shortsighted bill created by people who could be construed as idiots, is hitting a buzzsaw of Internet opposition. Large companies are also starting to tabulate their potential compliance costs.
On the surface, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) sounds reasonable. All the legislation wants to do is stop online copyright infringement. The rub is that anyone can complain and have sites taken down and cut off from their revenue sources. Yes, you too can be a rogue site.
SOPA was introduced Oct. 26 and despite some initial outcry largely went … Read more
Blue Coat Systems has confirmed that its devices were being used by Syria to censor the Web and said it is investigating how they got into that country despite a strict U.S. trade embargo, The Wall Street Journal reported today.
The appliances were "transmitting automatic status messages back to the company" Blue Coat executives told the newspaper.
"Blue Coat says it doesn't monitor where such 'heartbeat' messages originate from," according to the report. "Computer code reviewed by the Journal indicates that Syrians were also using other Blue Coat products, raising questions about how … Read more