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From Louis Suárez-Potts <>
Subject Re: 18 Jan 2012: SOPA and PIPA Protest Banner
Date Wed, 18 Jan 2012 22:40:49 GMT
Thanks, Dennis: that was a good revelation.

Sopa and Pipa are more than intrusive vehicles and worse than
structures for arbitrary censorship (arbitrary: power wielded by
unaccountable entities in the service of their own interests). The two
bills sediment a regime of legacy power over the creation and
distribution of content (read: data) that the Internet has, I love to
think, gone a great way to disassemble. (Internet as inclusive of SMS
and other non-Web data relays.) The bills are very poorly written but
not, I'm afraid, poorly thought out. At least, my paranoia tells me
that we will see more of the same before long, as legacy power has
extraordinary longevity.

But I hope and do more than hope, I try to act on my beliefs, that the
communities that make up the Web and make it what it is (and Apache is
at the centre in so many ways), will resist such dead and deadening
power the way living things do: unspecified but nevertheless moving,
and sometimes even in obvious community.


On 18 January 2012 16:14, Dennis E. Hamilton <> wrote:
> Answering my own question a little:
> In the previous part of the 3-part EFF article, it is mentioned that making it
> difficult to discover whether some content is infringing can be a violation of
> Whether this can reach beyond a suspicious use of encryption to the software
> used to perform encryption and the format of the encryption is not clear.
> This raises a common problem about the fact of encryption being a smoking gun
> for intervention without protections of due process (and privacy in
> confidential communications).
> That is worrisome by itself, although I can see easier ridiculous cases.  For
> example, consider a privately-shared folder on Windows Live Skydrive involving
> no encryption there but with commonly used encryption for transport-level
> security.
> An ODF package can already be used for encryption and communication of a
> pirated digital work.  Should all implementers of the encryption provisions be
> worried?  Probably not.
> [It may still be very sloppy law and any self-deputizing of vigilante
> enforcers is a terrible notion.]
>  - Dennis
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Dennis E. Hamilton []
> Sent: Wednesday, January 18, 2012 12:42
> To:
> Subject: RE: 18 Jan 2012: SOPA and PIPA Protest Banner
> I agree that the EFF tends to go hyperbolic.  The only specific case mentioned
> is the anti-circumvention aspect of the DMCA.
> But providing encryption software is not a way to circumvent DRM.
> This passage is peculiar: " Essentially any software product or service, such
> as many encryption programs, that is not responsive to blocking orders could
> be under threat."
> I am left puzzled about what is a blocking order against a software product,
> and how do SOPA/PIPA reach there?  What does it mean for a software product to
> be non-responsive?
> If anyone has an explanation tied to details in the proposed legislation, it
> would be interesting to know if there is then a matter for ASF concern.
> (I am not in favor of SOPA/PIPA; I am in favor of getting the facts straight.)
>  - Dennis
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Donald Whytock []
> Sent: Wednesday, January 18, 2012 11:39
> To:
> Subject: Re: 18 Jan 2012: SOPA and PIPA Protest Banner
> Including the list this time.  Watch those reply-tos, Dennis...:)
> On Wed, Jan 18, 2012 at 1:53 PM, Dennis E. Hamilton
> <> wrote:
>> Don,
>> What's your understanding of the connection between open-source encryption
>> algorithms and SOPA/PIPA?  Where is there more information available?
> This was the EFF article I saw on the topic:
> It's a little alarmist, but the general tone is that if some idiot can
> think there's any relationship between software that hides information
> and efforts to circumvent DNS censorship, the site that provides said
> software can find itself blocked.
> Feel free to substitute "government official" for "idiot" as needed.
> Seriously, how many politicians do you know that really know what
> security software does?  They don't have to be right.  They just have
> to have the authority.

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