With the massive protest against SOPA/PIPA comes the states response in the form of the takedown of filesharing site MegaUpload.com. It serves as yet another example that the state can and will do anything they want whether or not their actions are codified in some legalese passed by old men in a congressional chamber. The codification of their acts only acts as a way of removing any doubt of their ability – a metaphorical smearing in our face of their power. Like the NDAA before this, these proposed laws are actions that the state already commits. It really doesn’t matter if they pass or not. It. Is. Already. Happening.
Coworkers of mine took time to go down to one of our state’s fine senator’s offices to join a protest against SOPA/PIPA on Wednesday – we work in the web industry so these bills have been common office conversation subjects. I tried to convince them that no matter how many times they called and complained to some intern at the senator’s office or however many online petitions they managed to sign that this bill really only puts in writing the world we live in already. I didn’t win the argument and off they went to feel like they were changing the world, and maybe in some insignificant way they did. If the bills are killed as they appear to be as of this writing, did they win something?
Not if the actions taken Thursday against MegaUpload are any indication. The bills are nothing more than propositions on paper, but still the U.S. government (and governments abroad) managed to take down the offending site and arrest its employees without the help of SOPA or PIPA. Just as prisoners in Guantanamo have been held without charges or trials and American citizens have been assassinated on suppositions well before NDAA passed (despite Obama’s threatened veto, hilariously). More people need to understand that what is and is not law is in no way a guide to what your government can or cannot do to you. Will my website be safe if SOPA/PIPA passes? Fuck, the better question is if my site is safe now. Looking at very recent events I would say no.
This site could disappear tomorrow regardless of what the law is or whether or not I have violated it. It happens quite frequently, in fact. The sooner people realize these things, the better.