NEWS FROM THE LAB - Wednesday, January 18, 2012

What the heck is SOPA? Posted by Sean @ 14:07 GMT

We're sure that most of you have at least heard of SOPA. Major websites such as Wikipedia have blacked out sections of their content today to raise awareness.

In some locations, Google has blacked out its logo.


The concern of many speech and privacy advocates is that SOPA, which stands for Stop Online Piracy Act, greatly expands the legal authority of US government agencies to seize control of foreign hosted websites, in the name of combating piracy.

This domain name has been seized by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement´┐Ż

And the issue isn't just about Hollywood and "content piracy". Pharmaceutical companies are also involved, and some Canadian based sites are joining today's blackout as well. They fear being lumped in with fake viagra spam related sites.


The related US House and Senate bills can be read from thomas.gov: SOPA; and PIPA, ProtectIP Act.

Ethics, law, and politics aside, we at F-Secure Labs are concerned more about implementation. Laws such as SOPA seem almost guaranteed to start an Internet "arms race" as speech advocates (and yes, pirates) innovate new technologies.

And then those new technologies will get co-opted by criminals (which we've seen happen far too often). Seems better not to start an arms race if you can avoid it.

Also of interest, TED.com will be putting Mikko's TEDxBrussels talk on their front page today as part of their SOPA awareness. Read more about it from the TED Blog.