Don’t worry if you can’t access various government websites today: in the wake of MegaUpload getting taken down by the Feds, they’re running around shutting down websites and being annoying.
This, of course, will pass once said group of teenagers finds something else to be ticked off about. But, in the meantime, let’s make up conspiracy theories and whine about how Anonymous is ruining the Internet!
Let’s start with what Anonymous is doing: nothing. Yeah, it’s annoying to be unable to access WhiteHouse.gov or FBI.gov, but they’re not breaching government systems or launching nukes. Really, does anybody even go to MPAA.org?
That, of course, isn’t stopping people who should know better from insisting that the federal government totally did this because they were upset over PIPA and SOPA being effective derailed by the action of the people and now it’s all ruining everything forever and legislators will all think the Internets are evil and blah blah blah.
To explain this in language even the densest troll will understand: GOVERNMENTS DO NOT WORK THAT WAY! GOOD NIGHT!
The Department of Justice couldn’t care less about protests against SOPA and PIPA. That’s not their domain and it’s not their problem. In fact, the Megaupload arrests are a pretty damning argument against SOPA and PIPA even being necessary in the first place; the FBI spent two years investigating MegaUpload and arrested people across international borders, showing that the US government can take action internationally against pirated goods, just like they’ve always been able to under trade agreements. Governments aren’t vicious ninjas; they’re elephants. You don’t want to annoy either, but one takes a lot longer to turn around and figure out who kicked it in the nuts.
Whether these arrests should have happened is a separate conversation, but the point is: corporations don’t need law enforcement authority. The government can enforce its own laws just fine. Was the timing entirely coincidental? Maybe, maybe not. But this was going to happen whether SOPA and PIPA were shut down or not.
Oh, one final point: the DOJ doesn’t answer to Congress. It answers to Obama, and he was anti-SOPA before the blackouts.
Secondly, SOPA and PIPA didn’t get dumped like a bad date because of the Internet exerting its mighty Intartubes force and reversing it. They’re dead in the water because major corporations and non-profits banded together, informed voters of what was going on, and those voters told their Congressmen in no uncertain terms they didn’t want this crappy bill. If you seriously think Congressmen are going to conflate Sergey Brin and Mark Zuckerberg with Anonymous, well, we can’t blame you, but they’re not that technologically ignorant.
Sorry, you didn’t short circuit the system. You just made sure it worked.
(Image via Liryon on Flickr)