Archive for November 19th, 2012

Free Open Internet? The Battle against SOPA, DMCA, ACTA and PIPA   no comments

Posted at 10:36 am in Uncategorized

This week I have been researching around the current topic of political hacking movements regarding the, recently introduced, government legislation on the web. The political movements have been ‘clubbing together’ to battle the right to a free and open internet. This appears to be something that governmental bodies and political parties are worried about, but however does not seem to stop the hackers themselves crashing, changing or damaging government websites. Furthermore, it seems that word-of-mouth through social sites is something that is a huge battle for governmental bodies to win. If the voice of the ‘everyman’ were to get censored then this would indeed question the level of democracy in our country.

A recent film, found here, inspired me to review this topic in my interdisciplinary study, as it is a current topic that will effect all internet users across the world, and indeed leads me to question whether the grouping together of hackers and hacktivists worldwide will make any difference in the political and legal legislation that has been put forward. I will be following this film over the next few months and hopefully will be able to view the finished film early next year.

I have found it reasonably difficult to find books regarding the SOPA, ACTA and PIPA legislation, as Google and Yahoo appear to be restricting a lot of the content due to these acts (perhaps a minor dictatorship in itself). So far, it has only been possible to find a few books regarding these topics that are not backed by governmental or political bodies and/or are not legislative papers. Also, I believe that books of this nature would indeed be ‘content-controlled’, and so not the full opinion of the author.

However, I did a deeper search and found a book that recognises criticisms of the government-led legislative policies. The book notes that although these policies have been implemented over the past few years worldwide, they are not being enforced in developing countries (Ayoob, 2010). This enables us to question the power of such acts in relation to political state powers of certain countries and furthermore why such countries are being ‘allowed leniency’. Furthermore, acts such as the DMCA have been potentially provided to allow ‘content creators’ to charge for the use of such content on third party sites, potentially damaging and restricting the content on the likes of ‘free’ or non-profit sites such as Wikipedia.

With the Arab Spring appearing towards the end of 2010, many political hacker groups have started to ascend to contribute to state security and governmental systems. These hackers are collaborating with european and american hackers in a fight for digital democracy. The aforementioned film collaborates with these hackers in an appeal to stand-up against political dictatorships and restricting legislative bodies.

In my next post I hope to research the arab spring and hacking in relation to moral philosophy and whether these legislative acts are in motion to restore ‘fairness’ to content creators or whether this is simply an act of restricting freedom of information over the internet.

Ayoob, E. (2010). Recent Development: The Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement. In The Cardozo Arts and Entertainment. LJ.


Written by Gareth Beeston on November 19th, 2012