Sunday, November 28, 2010

DHS isn't waiting for COICA

Sen. Leahy's COICA bill to permit blacklisting and seizure of domains is progressing through the Judiciary Committee. It has 18 cosponsors. Most of them are "the usual suspects" types, Senators who don't care about whether the legislation they support is Constitutional, as long as it makes them feel good. I still think this is a violation of their oath of office. Constitutionality should be the first filter. I am disappointed to see Inhofe on the list, as I thought he had more sense than that. Sen. Ron Wyden has vowed to block a vote at least until 2011. So that's good.

But in the meantime, DHS is "seizing internet domains left and right." As Don Surber says, they are "protecting rappers instead of the border." By what authority do they do this, I wonder. If this can be done as an executive function, without the need for Congress to pass legislation, then COICA is superfluous. Or else it's the way the administration wants to handle other issues as well, that is, by executive fiat. I'm thinking of using the EPA's regulatory powers to declare CO2 a pollutant and regulate it without any legislative authority. That "government of laws" business sounds nice, but it gets in the way sometimes. Pesky laws!

Natural News links to Demand Progress, where there is a petition.

I said last year that the days of the free Internet were numbered: Federal Marshals will be coming in to clean up this town, or Yes we can stop the signal.

Update: More on this from David Post at The Volokh Conspiracy: Copyright Enforcement Tail Wags Internet Dog, Cont’d; or, What the Hell Ever Happened to Due Process? An excerpt:

It’s an outrage. To begin with, there’s the bizarre spectacle of the Department of Homeland Security – which, last I looked, had some important issues before it that actually relate to “homeland security” — expending time and resources to protect purely private interests (of. e.g., the Louis Vuitton handbag manufacturers and Warner Brothers’ Records). And the operation perfectly illustrates the objections we raised in the COICA Letter: 80 websites — many of them operating overseas — have now been prevented from speaking to US citizens even though the website operators, whose domains were seized, had no notice or opportunity to respond to the charges against them (and to argue, for instance, that they are NOT infringing copyrights or trademarks), no adversary hearing, and certainly no adjudication before a neutral, that anything unlawful is going on at these sites, only an affidavit to that effect submitted by the ICE.

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