My response to Senator GIllibrand

Yesterday I emailed my Senator urging her to oppose the “have corporations censor the Internet” SOPA bill. Here is her response, followed by my response to her.

Dear Dennis,
Thank you for writing to me regarding S. 968, the PROTECT IP Act of 2011. I understand your concerns.

I am a cosponsor of this legislation because I believe that we must protect American intellectual property against foreign websites that infringe upon our rights. By empowering the Attorney General of the United States to go after foreign infringing websites, this legislation becomes a necessary tool to ensure that U.S. companies remain competitive in the world marketplace. I recognize that there are technical concerns with the enforcement of this bill that need to be addressed. I am committed to working with my colleagues in the United States Senate to ensure that this legislation protects the Constitutional rights of Americans and does not stifle lawful free speech or innovation on the internet.

Thank you again for writing to express your concerns, and I hope that you keep in touch with my office regarding future legislation. For more information on this and other important issues, please visit my website at http://gillibrand.senate.gov and sign up for my e-newsletter.

Sincerely,

Kirsten E. Gillibrand
United States Senator

My response:

This is very dissapointing news. Please reconsider your stance and oppose this terrible bill.

The Internet become great without corporate censorship and this bill will have devastating consequences. Giant unaccountable media companies control enough of our lives, there is no need to give them censorship power over the Internet. And I resent the implication in your email that “foreign websites” are somehow suspicious or bad. This legislation will allow governments and corporations to remove websites from the internet without a hearing, an extraordinary and unecessary legal remedy. It is inevitable that this power will be abused.

Please realize that while we currently have an upstanding citizen as Attorney General, that is not always the case. I’m sure you remember Alberto Gonzalez and the other Bush Administration AG’s who enthusiastically supported torture, extraordinary rendition and other awful things. In our lifetime we will likely have to endure more Republican administrations with a similar lack of scruples for human rights. Empowering the executive branch to censor the Internet without hearings will move the US government closer to countries like Russia and China, which is clearly the wrong direction.

If your idea of protecting free speech is trusting multinational corporations, then I have beachfront property to sell you in Arizona.

A concerned citizen,
Dennis Cahillane

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