The tech industry says it wants to stop such crimes, but it also calls any tangible effort to do so censorship that would “break the Internet.” Wikipedia has never blacked itself out before on any other political issue, nor have websites like Mozilla or the social news aggregator Reddit. How’s that for irony: Companies supposedly devoted to the free flow of information are gagging themselves, and the only practical effect will be to enable fraudsters. They’ve taken no comparable action against, say, Chinese repression.
Now, let’s take a step back here. Let’s go back to the prior post we put up. Are we gonna have to throw out some motha@*&!in Clay Shirky on ya? The problem is not the law as written. It’s the burden of proof. Basically, you’re going to put any mom-and-pop startup in a position where they have to monitor every single transaction that goes through their site to ensure it doesn’t link to an illegal foreign site. And to twist the issue to make them look like hypocrites for not taking political stances on other things? Come on. This directly affects their bottom line. It weighs them down in bureaucracy. If Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak had to work around barriers like this, they probably would’ve stuck with phone phreaking. The problem here is not the explicit solution; it’s the consequences and side effects.
The Wall Street Journal is a great newspaper saddled by an editorial page written by a bunch of people who haven’t been outside of their bubbles in the past 20 years, buoyed by a subscriber base unlike any other in newspapers, and influenced by one of the more obsessive minds in the business industry. And here’s this board, scolding a sector that bothered to defend itself against a lobbying prowess the best way they know how — through word-of-mouth. These sites that went down today should be lauded for not letting themselves get bullied. Yes, the people who wrote this article? They’re bullies, shouting off in the distance, far away from the crowds.
This is a travesty of an editorial; it damages the reputation of one of the greats.