Friday, January 20, 2012

You can write "shit fuck cunt cocksucker" to your Congressman about SOPA, but here's one word they don't allow


Click to expand the above. Notice that it's the word DELETE (de_leted) that gets flagged by the bot.

Derrick Sobodash, a work colleague, was trying to explain in a very rational letter to his Congressman in Michigan that the proposed anti-piracy bill SOPA would end up hurting the one industry in Detroit that's still hiring, IT. In addition, American companies like YouTube would have to hire people to self-censor, expurgating content that could potentially draw the attention of the RIAA and MPAA, and naturally companies would outsource those jobs to India and Vietnam. Derrick very reasonably explained that China keeps untold thousands employed as censors, but no such employment benefit would come to the U.S. because surely no one would want those jobs.

He wrote all this and then hit send, and an error message popped up: "We're sorry, we have found the word 'delete' in this field."

Personally, I'm sad he didn't just send "Shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker and tits" on the first go.

***

Derrick, who is more tech-savvy than I'll ever be, described SOPA in terms that made me shudder:

The American Internet will become like the Chinese Internet.

Think about it: self-censorship will become necessary, as mentioned above, as preemptive measures against lawsuits (in China, self-censorship is necessary as preemptive measures against government rebukes).

Larger companies could use SOPA to bury their competitors. They could hire their version of 50-cent armies to direct attention to potential SOPA violations. Vimeo, we'll see you later.

The amount of content that could potentially become unavailable except to subscribers is staggering. It would be as if a wall were erected. A virtual wall. A... Great Firewall. And that whole paying for content? It'd be like paying for a VPN in China.

So, yeah, contact your representative. Whether you choose to curse is entirely up to you.

UPDATE: Evan Osnos of the The New Yorker has a great post about Chinese reactions to SOPA.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Funny how people get up-in-arms about harmless things. The Congressman's site was simply performing input validation in a rather clumsy way. It was prohibiting words commonly used in SQL injection attacks. Nothing more or less.

The Tao said...

People are up in arms about SOPA, nothing more or less.

Jeremy said...

People should be up in arms. Not only is our government unqualified to regulate the Internet, it's unqualified to hire qualified people to write a damn Web form. How pathetic is that?

Anonymous said...

>People are up in arms about SOPA, nothing more or less.

>People should be up in arms.

This is all fine and good, but what does this have to do with SQL injection prevention? Why does this article even exist?

Anonymous said...

you talk shit! shame of you!

Matt said...

They are not very intellegent lets face it. But in the long run the law would benefits the powerful none internet companies in order to sacrifice the internet compaies. The thing is in American state posseption it kills two birds with one stone. America can gain state censorship while looking like they protecting the interestes of American Buisness and not breaking human rights or freedom of speech. While American companies benifit through increased profits. In the long nobody cares about the logic. The only people who lose out are the people who do not full in to the category of state official or company executive

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