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Vint Cerf: Sopa Means 'unprecedented Censorship' of the Web

By CNet

December 16, 2011

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Google chief Internet evangelist and 2004 ACM A.M. Turing Award winner Vint Cerf has sent a letter to U.S. House Judiciary chairman Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas), adding his voice to those of many other Internet and cybersecurity experts opposing the Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), which Smith authored.

According to Cerf's letter, SOPA would not effectively prevent user access to illicit offshore Web sites, and also would trigger "a worldwide arms race of unprecedented 'censorship' of the Web." Even with recently inserted revisions, Cerf writes that "the bill will still undermine cybersecurity including the robust implementation of DNS Security Extensions."

Cerf points out that "section 102(e)(2)(i) [of SOPA] continues to require service providers to block access to sites. While that provision no longer mandates DNS blocking in order to accomplish that goal, it still permits falsifying [Internet protocol (IP)] addresses in response to domain name resolution requests. Any response that provides a false IP address triggers potential damage to the intent of DNSSEC." He cautions that attempts to game DNS will make it less viable as the primary Web site location tool, and encourage the adoption of alternative mechanisms by abusers.

Furthermore, Cerf writes that "site blocking or redirection mechanisms are unlikely to make a significant dent in the availability of infringing material and counterfeits online."

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