Friday, January 20, 2012

The War Over Internet Censorship Has Officially Begun

The war over Internet censorship/freedom has already begun... the US government fired the first shot yesterday on Magaupload and Anonymous shot back with huge retaliation shutting down government and entertainment industry websites.. and this was a day after the SOPA and PIPA blackout on the Internet as those pieces of legislation loom in Congress....

Megauload, one of the world's most popular file-sharing sites, was shut down on Thursday, and its founder and several of the Megaupload company officials were accused of facilitating millions of illegal downloads of films, music and other content.

The Guardian reported
The US government has closed down one of the world's largest filesharing websites, accusing its founders of racketeering, money laundering and presiding over "massive" online piracy.

According to prosecutors, Megaupload illegally cheated copyright holders out of $500m in revenue as part of a criminal enterprise spanning five years.

A lawyer for Megaupload told the Guardian it would "vigorously" defend itself against the charges, dismissing the criminal action as "a civil case in disguise".

News of the indictment – being framed as one of the biggest copyright cases in US history – came a day after major internet firms held a 24-hour protest over proposed anti-piracy laws.
Gizmodo reported:
Let's also think about the timing of this bust. It's a pretty spectacular coincidence that the Department of Justice Task Force on Intellectual Property was able to destroy a copyright villain without any help from SOPA or PIPA the day after the internet's giant SOPA protest. Do you hear that, lawmakers? The law, as it stands right now was able to kill, no draconian censorship powers required. The power you have now—with due process—is achieving the things you say you want to do. Your IP is protected. Online piracy was stopped, except for the dozens of Megaupload rivals like HulkShare and MediaFire. And I wouldn't be surprised if they're next. [AP]

Whether laws were broken or not - this move is dangerous in that the government unilaterally moved to take down a website without going to court first to prove its case. They simply ceased Megaupload's operations.

Interestingly enough - Megaupload is based in Hong Kong, however, some of the alleged pirated content was hosted on leased servers in Ashburn, Va., and the indictment said that was enough to give federal authorities jurisdiction for its actions.

In retaliation, the hacker group named Anonymous went on a hacking spree and shut down several government and entertainment industry websites including DoJ, FBI, US Copyright office, RIAA, MPAA, and Universal Music.

The Internet fur is certainly flying.
Looks like they have it in for Chris Dodd as well.

The problem though is this: Censorship is being disguised as piracy protection.

Thus the Cyber Wars have begun.

(dubbed World War Web on Twitter)

Related: Really interesting article about how Chris Dodd and Hollywood have lost this battle, and it has all to do with the unbelievable ignorance they have of the tools of the information age.