Last week, the House Judiciary Committee held a markup of the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) to debate over 55 amendments to the legislation. A Managers Amendment was released by the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Smith before the markup, which was intended to address concerns raised about the original bill, but concerns remain.
Some Members (especially Reps Chaffetz, Lofgren, Polis, and Issa) warned that SOPA’s provisions requiring ISPs to block access to websites would undermine the functioning of the internet and increase security risks. Others, including Rep. Watt and Berman, seemed hostile to the idea that blocking websites would lead to security problems.
Expert warnings against the blocking provisions that were cited by Committee Members included:
- Open Letter from 83 Internet Engineers to the Members of the House Judiciary Committee, December 15, 2011.
- Letter from Vint Cerf to the Members of the House Judiciary Committee, December 14, 2011.
- Stewart Baker. Op-ed in The Hill (reposted on theconstitutional.org). “Finding Fault With the Stop Online Piracy Act. November 19, 2011.
Rep. Chaffetz asked to have security experts testify before the Committee before the legislation is passed out of committee. When the Committee adjourned on Friday, reports originally indicated that business on SOPA would cease until January, potentially giving an opportunity for experts to testify. However, Judiciary Chairman Smith later announced that the markup will resume on Wednesday, December 21. It will be webcast here.
Additional warnings against SOPA have been issued since last week’s markup, including an essay in the Stanford Law Review by Profs. Lemley, Levine, and Post titled “Don’t Break the Internet.”
Related infojustice blogs from last week’s hearing:
- Opening Discussion at SOPA Markup Highlights Security Concerns, Lack of Technical Input
- List of 55 Amendments Offered to the Stop Online Piracy Act
- House Judiciary Committee to Markup Piracy Bill Facing Opposition from a Wide Range of Critics