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White House responds to SOPA petition as hearing is delayed, DNS blocking on the outs

Donald Melanson, @donmelanson
January 14, 2012
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It's turned out to be a big weekend for those concerned about the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act. Yesterday came word that a key House hearing originally scheduled for Wednesday will be delayed until there is a "consensus" on the bill, and today the White House has issued an official statement on SOPA (and the Protect IP Act, its counterpart in the Senate) in response to a petition that drew thousands of signatures. While it doesn't go quite as far as to issue a firm veto threat from the President, it does lay out the administration's position in the clearest terms yet, including the condition that any proposed law "must not tamper with the technical architecture of the Internet through manipulation of the Domain Name System." That follows word late last week that Representative Lamar Smith and Senator Patrick Leahy would indeed pull the DNS provisions from SOPA and PIPA. The White House statement is less specific in other respects, but it broadly states that the administration will "not support legislation that reduces freedom of expression, increases cybersecurity risk, or undermines the dynamic, innovative global Internet."

In related news, the planned blackouts to protest SOPA and PIPA only seem to be increasing, with the popular xda-developers forum recently announcing that it will go dark at 8AM on January 18th, and return either at 8PM or as soon as it's able to get 50,000 people to sign a pledge to contact their local Senator or Representative.

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