Share on Google Plus Share on Twitter 4 Share on Facebook Share on LinkedIn Share on PInterest Share on Fark! Share on Reddit Share on StumbleUpon Tell A Friend (4 Shares)  
Printer Friendly Page Save As Favorite View Favorites View Stats   3 comments

OpEdNews Op Eds

Two lessons from the Megaupload seizure

By       Message Glenn Greenwald     Permalink
      (Page 1 of 1 pages)
Related Topic(s): ; ; , Add Tags Add to My Group(s)

Must Read 4   Supported 3   Valuable 3  
View Ratings | Rate It

opednews.com Headlined to H2 1/22/12

Author 4807
Become a Fan
  (133 fans)
- Advertisement -

Two events this week produced some serious cognitive dissonance. First, Congressional leaders sheepishly announced that they were withdrawing (at least for the time being) two bills heavily backed by the entertainment industry -- the PROTECT IP Act (PIPA) in the Senate and Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the House --  in the wake of vocal online citizen protests (and, more significantly, coordinated opposition from the powerful Silicon Valley industry). Critics insisted that these bills were dangerous because they empowered the U.S. Government, based on mere accusations of piracy and copyright infringement, to shut down websites without any real due process.

But just as the celebrations began over the saving of Internet Freedom, something else happened: the U.S. Justice Department not only indicted the owners of one of the world's largest websites, the file-sharing site Megaupload, but also seized and shut down that site, and also seized or froze millions of dollars of its assets -- all based on the unproved accusations, set forth in an indictment, that the site deliberately aided copyright infringement.

In other words, many SOPA opponents were confused and even shocked when they learned that the very power they feared the most in that bill -- the power of the U.S. Government to seize and shut down websites based solely on accusations, with no trial -- is a power the U.S. Government already possesses and, obviously, is willing and able to exercise even against the world's largest sites (they have this power thanks to the the 2008  PRO-IP Act pushed by the same industry servants in Congress behind SOPA as well as by forfeiture laws used to seize the property of accused-but-not-convicted drug dealers).

This all reminded me quite a bit of the shock and outrage that arose last month over the fact that Barack Obama signed into law a bill (the NDAA) vesting him with the power to militarily detain people without charges, even though, as I pointed out the very first time I wrote about that bill, indefinite detention is already a power the U.S. Government under both Bush and Obama has seized and routinely and aggressively exercises.

I'm not minimizing the importance of either fight: it's true that SOPA (like the NDAA) would codify these radical powers further and even expand them beyond what the U.S. Government already wields (regarding SOPA's unique provisions, see Julian Sanchez's typically thorough analysis). But the defining power that had everyone so up in arms about SOPA -- shutting down websites with no trial -- is one that already exists in quite a robust form, as any thwarted visitors to Megaupload will discover. There are two points worth making about all of this:

Read the rest of this article at Salon

- Advertisement -

- Advertisement -

 

Must Read 4   Supported 3   Valuable 3  
View Ratings | Rate It

Glenn Greenwald is one of three co-founding editors of The Intercept. He is a journalist, constitutional lawyer, and author of four New York Times best-selling books on politics and law. His most recent book, No Place (more...)
 

Share on Google Plus Submit to Twitter Add this Page to Facebook! Share on LinkedIn Pin It! Add this Page to Fark! Submit to Reddit Submit to Stumble Upon


Go To Commenting

The views expressed in this article are the sole responsibility of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of this website or its editors.

Writers Guidelines

Contact AuthorContact Author Contact EditorContact Editor Author PageView Authors' Articles
Related Topic(s): ; ; , Add Tags
- Advertisement -

Most Popular Articles by this Author:     (View All Most Popular Articles by this Author)

HSBC, too big to jail, is the new poster child for US two-tiered justice system

US investigates possible WikiLeaks leaker for "communicating with the enemy"

Prosecution of Anonymous activists highlights war for Internet control

The myth of Obama's "blunders" and "weakness"

The Remarkable, Unfathomable Ignorance of Debbie Wasserman Schultz

Are All Telephone Calls Recorded And Accessible To The US Government?