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[liberationtech] How SOPA's 'circumvention' ban could put a target on Tor

Fran Parker lilbambi at gmail.com
Thu Dec 22 17:49:46 PST 2011


*In some bizarre world where the First Amendment of the US Constitution
is gutted, then Tor falling under SOPA is the least of our concerns.*

True that!

I read Wendy's posting from the 15th which was her last posting where 
she says:

*As an initial problem, the section is unclear. Could it cover someone 
who designs a tool for”the circumvention or bypassing of” DNS blockages 
in general — even if such a person did not specifically intend or market 
the tool to be used to frustrate court orders issued under SOPA? 
Resilience in the face of technological failure is a fundamental 
software design goal. As DNS experts Steve Crocker, et al. say in their 
Dec. 9 letter to the House and Senate Judiciary Chairs, “a secure 
application expecting a secure DNS answer will not give up after a 
timeout. It might retry the lookup, it might try a backup DNS server, it 
might even restart the lookup through a proxy service.” Would the 
providers of software that looked to a proxy for answers –products 
“designed” to be resilient to transient DNS lookup failures –be subject 
to injunction? Where the answer is unclear, developers might choose not 
to offer such lawful features rather than risking legal attack. Indeed, 
the statute as drafted might chill the development of anti-censorship 
tools funded by our State Department.*

The last 2 sentences still sound like pretty chilling potentials to me. 
Like everyone on this list, I would hate to see any of that come true.



On 12/22/11 8:16 PM, liberationtech at lewman.us wrote:
 > On Thu, Dec 22, 2011 at 02:28:09PM -0500,lilbambi at gmail.com  wrote 
1.6K bytes in 43 lines about:
 > : How SOPA's 'circumvention' ban could put a target on Tor
 > 
:http://news.cnet.com/8301-31921_3-57346592-281/how-sopas-circumvention-ban-could-put-a-target-on-tor/
 > : A little-noticed section of the Stop Online Piracy Act could make it
 > : illegal to distribute Tor and other software that can "circumvent"
 > : attempts by the U.S. government to block pirate Web sites.
 >
 > Clearly putting the word 'tor' in your article generates
 > pageviews. There's the extreme position for the pageviews and then
 > there's reality.
 >
 > If Tor was marketed as a way to explicitly defeat the SOPA provisions,
 > if SOPA is passed as is, and if the US Attorney General's office comes
 > after Tor for specifically marketing Tor as a way to defeat the DNS
 > censorship of a blocked url in the US, then perhaps Declan is correct.
 >
 > Even Wendy's blog post mentioned in Declan's blog post is full of 'could'
 > and 'if' statements. I take Declan's post with a huge grain of salt.
 >
 > In some bizarre world where the First Amendment of the US Constitution
 > is gutted, then Tor falling under SOPA is the least of our concerns.
 >
 > -- Andrew http://tpo.is/contact pgp 0x74ED336B
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