Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Stop Censorship

Critical thought and scientific literacy are at risk. One of the many tools to combat this vulnerability is the publication of and freedom to access information. Without an open exchange of observations, opinions, and interpretations we fail each other and ourselves.

But how can the US House and Senate bills SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) and PIPA (Protect Intellectual Property Act) compromise an open exchange of information?  While their stated goals are to end copyright infringements, they threaten to damage the free and open Internet you and I are using right now. Large media companies will be able call for the blocking of websites suspected of copyright infringement and the burden of proof will fall onto accused websites. With or without the resources, small websites will be required to police all user-contributed materials, not to mention defend themselves.

It's important to remember that the Internet, this free and open platform, is a global system of interconnected computers (and computer networks) that use a set of agreements on how computers will behave when connected. A free and open platform isn't a thing. To legislate and control an open exchange of information as a thing is dangerous, ineffective, and short-sighted at best.

SOPA and PIPA threaten the necessary development and practice of critical thought and consequently they threaten to weaken scientific literacy.

Find your senators and representative, it's that easy! I found mine:

Senator Dick Durbin
711 Hart Senate Bldg.
Washington, DC 20510

Senator Mark Kirk
524 Hart Senate Bldg.
Washington DC, 20510

Representative Daniel Lipinski
1717 Longworth HOB
Washington, DC 20515

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