Friday, November 19, 2010

The 19 Senators Who Voted To Censor The Internet

Arlen Spector and Robert Casey - Our so called Pennsylvania congressional reps. also voted to advance the U.S. Senate Bill S 510, the one that takes our food freedoms away, making it illegal to grow your own food and save your seeds. What They are doing is Pre-Meditated Mass Murder in my book!

The 19 Senators Who Voted To Censor The Internet
by Mike Masnick
Thu, Nov 18th 2010

from the free-speech-isn't-free dept

This is hardly a surprise but, this morning (as previously announced), the lame duck Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously voted to move forward with censoring the internet via the COICA bill -- despite a bunch of law professors explaining to them how this law is a clear violation of the First Amendment. What's really amazing is that many of the same Senators have been speaking out against internet censorship in other countries, yet they happily vote to approve it here because it's seen as a way to make many of their largest campaign contributors happy. There's very little chance that the bill will actually get passed by the end of the term but, in the meantime, we figured it might be useful to highlight the 19 Senators who voted to censor the internet this morning:

Patrick J. Leahy -- Vermont
Herb Kohl -- Wisconsin
Jeff Sessions -- Alabama
Dianne Feinstein -- California
Orrin G. Hatch -- Utah
Russ Feingold -- Wisconsin
Chuck Grassley -- Iowa
Arlen Specter -- Pennsylvania
Jon Kyl -- Arizona
Chuck Schumer -- New York
Lindsey Graham -- South Carolina
Dick Durbin -- Illinois
John Cornyn -- Texas
Benjamin L. Cardin -- Maryland
Tom Coburn -- Oklahoma
Sheldon Whitehouse -- Rhode Island
Amy Klobuchar -- Minnesota
Al Franken -- Minnesota
Chris Coons -- Delaware

This should be a list of shame. You would think that our own elected officials would understand the First Amendment but, apparently, they have no problem turning the US into one of the small list of authoritarian countries that censors internet content it does not like (in this case, content some of its largest campaign contributors do not like). We already have laws in place to deal with infringing content, so don't buy the excuse that this law is about stopping infringement. This law takes down entire websites based on the government's say-so.

First Amendment protections make clear that if you are going to stop any specific speech, it has to be extremely specific speech. This law has no such restrictions. It's really quite unfortunate that these 19 US Senators are the first American politicians to publicly vote in favor of censoring speech in America.