The internet is a quieter place today as major websites such as Wikipedia, Firefox, and WordPress shutdown in protest of SOPA and PIPA. The US government is trying to pass 2 bills, the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) and the Protect IP Act (PIPA), in order to eliminate copyright infringement committed by foreign websites. According to Google, this “would censor the Web and impose harmful regulations on American business.”

Search engines such as Google are successful because their algorithms are free of human intervention. However, SOPA and PIPA would essentially force search engine providers to manually filter their results if ordered to do so. China and other countries impose such restrictions, and as a result, provide their citizens with an altered and crippled version of the internet as we know it.

If these bills are passed, websites would have to monitor everything their users post or upload on their websites for fear of litigation. Facebook has more than half of a billion users. Monitoring just this one website would be physically impossible.  Not only does this form of monitoring seriously hamper the open nature of the internet, it would do nothing to stop piracy. Instead, the US government should look at other measures to ensure that the offending websites are shutdown.

The United Nations has declared that access to internet is a human right. Will these 2 bills violate our human right? Let me know what you think.

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