MPAA: PROTECT IP act could prevent a ‘lawless Wild West’ Internet

Posted 15 July 2011 08:00 CEST by Justin_Massoud

A press conference espousing the perceived perils of the controversial PROTECT IP bill (.pdf) hosted by the Internet Society and the Center for Democracy and Technology on Thursday morning in Washington, D.C. has already drawn criticism from the Motion Picture Association of America, which promptly issued a statement arguing that the points of view presented by the event’s speakers were flawed.

The “Security and Other Technical Concerns Raised by the DNS Filtering Requirements in the PROTECT IP Bill” white paper (.pdf), co-authored by five technology industry executives, argues that the DNS filtering alluded to in the bill “would be circumvented easily” and that such circumventions would then lead to myriad new security issues for both individuals and companies.

“We disagree,” said Paul Bigner, Chief Technology Officer for the MPAA, in a post at the group’s official blog:

DNSSEC was designed to provide consumers with a secure, trusted connection to services like online banking, commercial transactions, and electronic medical records – not to foreign websites operated by criminals for the purpose of offering counterfeit and infringing works. These evolving protocols should be flexible enough to allow for government, acting pursuant to a court order, to protect intellectual property online. And we have a hard time believing that average Internet users will be willing to reconfigure their computers to evade filters set up by court order when doing so will risk exposure to fraud, identity theft, malware, slower service, and unreliable connections. The PROTECT IP Act makes getting to rogue sites just inconvenient enough that the large majority of users will seek a legitimate option instead.

Bigner added that he believes U.S. technology experts hold the key to combating digital piracy and content theft – an important task given the importance of the web. “We rely on the Internet to do too much and be too much to let it decay into a lawless Wild West,” he concluded.

The MPAA previously made its stance (.pdf) on the controversial PROTECT IP bill known, lending full support to the act alongside several other artist’s rights organizations.

Others, however, have come forward with criticism. Internet search giant Google made its opposition to the proposal known when Erik Schmidt, Google Executive Chairman, railed against it in May. Earlier this month, over 100 law professors signed a letter sent to Congress asking members to dismiss PROTECT IP over severe security and legal implications.

How do you think PROTECT IP will play out on Capitol Hill? Let us know in the comment section.

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