Friday, May 13, 2011

The Google Blogger Meltdown And A Government Effort To Restrict The Internet

I've received a lot of e-mails from a number of you wondering what's been going on, since I haven't posted any articles since early yesterday and several appear to have vanished.

Actually, Google's Blogger platform which hosts JP has been down since yesterday. Apparently they were fiddlin' around and it went awry.

The latest Blogger said on their status website, they had deleted all material from May 12 on, were now restoring them and Blogger should be up 'shortly' - that was at 6:07 AM PSDT. As you can tell, Blogger is now back up, but when the stuff that disappeared will be restored is anyone's guess.

In an interesting side note, the Senate has just introduced legislation to allow the guv'mint to shut down websites at will. The ostensible purpose is to prevent piracy and copyright violations for the music and movie industry, but it has some interesting implications as I'm sure you can see. It's Friday the Thirteenth, an appropriate day for this.

A major feature of the Protect IP Act, introduced by a bi-partisan group of 11 senators , would give the government the authority to bring lawsuits against websites and obtain court orders requiring search engines like Google to stop displaying links to them.

Not only that, but the bill allows the Justice Department to obtain court orders demanding that American Internet Service providers (ISPs) stop rendering the Domain Name System for a particular website — meaning the sites would no longer be accessible within the United States. Essentially, if you think of the DNS as a telephone connection, it means that a site can have its number disconnected so youcan't reach iot least here in America.

All this would vastly increase the government’s power to disrupt and shutter websites “dedicated to infringing activities.” Right now, that just means sites engaging in hosting things like movies and music that involve copyright violations. Later of course, it could mean something else.

If this becomes law, it tilts us a little bit more towards the Rome side of things versus the Republic, so if that concerns you I suggest letting your representatives know how you feel about the matter.

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