So, last week the general outcry seems to have put an end to SOPA but two things about this “victory” concern me. First is that the day after we all declared victory, Megaupload was shut down and their assets seized without legal process; at least so I hear. I thought that was what SOPA was meant to allow and that since it wasn’t going to pass, we were all safe from this kind of thing. What did we accomplish, really?
Now, to be perfectly honest, I had never heard of Megaupload until the controversy about SOPA. I have no idea if they are a legitimate business, a gang of dastardly pirates or something in between. But, shouldn’t something have to be proven against them in court before they get shut down and their business seriously damaged, if not destroyed altogether? I would have thought so, but apparently not. Users are suing the FBI.
The second thing concerning me is the NDAA – The National Defence Authorization Act. While we were all fired up about freedom of speech on the internet (and possibly our right to steal intellectual property – I’m not 100% sure), the President of the United States was passing into law a provision that affirmed his right to use the armed forces to detain indefinitely without trial anyone (citizen or otherwise) suspected of being a terrorist or a supporter of terrorism, without proof in court being required. Strangely, the outcry about this is more muted, making me wonder about our priorities. This time it is Chris Hedges using legal action — taking the President to court to be exact. My hat is off — such courage.