Celebrating Internet Freedom Day With An Eye On Battles Ahead

January 18, 2013

Many in Washington and around the country are celebrating a key battle in the war against Internet freedom today – the one year anniversary of the defeat of the Stop Online Piracy Act or SOPA. The Computer & Communications Industry Association had been an early opponent of the bill and its two previous incarnations. We join in celebrating this step that woke up Internet users, and we urge all those who we fought this battle to remain focused on the many challenges to Internet freedom and openness that we will continue to face.

The following can be attributed to Computer & Communications Industry Association President & CEO Ed Black:

“We are grateful that one year ago today Internet users, along with public interest groups and Internet companies, halted extreme copyright legislation that would have altered and harmed the Internet. Once even a piece of Internet freedom is lost, it is hard to get it back.

“Since the United States’ own challenge to Internet freedom, via SOPA/PIPA, we have witnessed over the past year citizens in Iran and Syria who have faced Internet censorship and shutdowns, and a continued effort at control by China — most recently by requiring all citizens to register their full names with Internet access providers. Russia and its allies have pushed for greater governmental regulation of the Internet by targeting a UN agency to advance their goals of Internet control.

“The overall threat to Internet freedom, though, comes not from just those who overtly oppose it, but also from those who want to carve out seemingly well-intended exceptions to Internet freedom in frustrated attempts to fix social ills. We must remain equally vigilant in protecting the Internet from a death by a thousand cuts and direct assault. We must look at all policies impacting the Internet, measure the intended and collateral damage and analyze the costs and benefits carefully.

“While there is an overwhelming realization on Capitol Hill, thanks to the SOPA defeat, that measures that tinker with how the Internet works can have collateral damage, we expect those pushing for extreme copyright enforcement measures will try again.”

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