EFF in the News
Anti-Circumvention: In a Monday blog post, the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) took issue with several provisions in both bills, including one that would "target sites that simply provide information that could help users get around the bills' censorship mechanisms." That, EFF argued, amounts to "unconstitutional prior restraint against protected speech."
In addition, local tech groups like Hacks & Hackers and the Electronic Frontier Foundation are staging a noon protest at Civic Center Plaza, at which prominent angel investor Ron Conway will speak.
If you'd like to show your opposition to SOPA and PIPA, you can write to your representatives using this form provided by the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Q: How would my surfing change?
A: Obviously rogue sites, such as peer-to-peer music-sharing sites, would be "shut down" right away. You would not be able to access the site by typing its usual Web address. But that's "not going to stop people who want infringing work. They're going to find a way," says Julie Samuels, a staff attorney for Electronic Frontier Foundation.
“Social media sites like Facebook or YouTube—basically any site with user generated content—would have to police their own sites, forcing huge liability costs onto countless Internet companies. This is exactly why venture capitalists have said en masse they won’t invest in online startups if PIPA and SOPA pass,” wrote EFF’s Trevor Timm, who also noted that the bills would be devastating to the open source software community.
"What these bills propose are new powers for the government and also for private actors to create, effectively, blacklists of sites that allegedly are engaging in some form of online infringement and then force service providers to block access to those sites," says Corynne McSherry, intellectual property director at the Electronic Frontier Foundation.
As the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) points out, SOPA for instance, contains a provision that would allow the government to target sites that are seen as providing advice or help on how to circumvent the law. Such an anti-circumvention provision would amount to unconstitutional prior restraint and would apply to U.S. sites as well.
Cohn explained that this is what the EFF refers to as the “weakest link” problem, where Internet users rely on third parties such as Twitter, Apple, Amazon, Facebook and others to interact and publish online. This creates choke points, where individuals — including Members of Congress — can easily go to shut off access for those Internet users. “I don’t think it takes a sophisticated analysis to recognize that there’s going to be more pressure from a Member of Congress than from a member of the public,” she said.
“I have excellent team of lawyers from the EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation) and ACLU representing me pro-bono,” Jonsdottir said. “I couldn’t have been represented by a greater team of experts.”
Trevor Timm, an activist at the Electronic Frontier Foundation, said Monday that the Obama administration drew "an important line in the sand" by stating that it will not support legislation "that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk, or undermines the dynamic, innovative global Internet".