Sen. Leahy Pushes Internet Censorship Bill

Jim Meyers
27 Sep 2010

Sen. Patrick Leahy has introduced a bill affecting the Internet that could have a “dangerous impact on freedom of speech,” according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation.

The Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA) introduced by the Vermont Democrat, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, requires Internet Service Providers, Domain Name System providers, and others to block Internet users from reaching certain websites.

The legislation, which seeks to curb online piracy and the sale of counterfeit goods, would create two “blacklists.” The first is a list of all websites hit with a censorship court order from the Attorney General. The second is a list of domain names that the Department of Justice determines are “dedicated to infringing activities” that violate copyright laws.

COICA requires blocking for domains on the first list and “strongly suggests” that domains on the second list should be blocked as well by providing legal immunity for those who do block access to websites, according to the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), a nonprofit civil liberties organization.

“This is a censorship bill that runs roughshod over freedom of speech on the Internet” and could have a “dangerous impact on freedom of speech,” the EFF observes.

Read the rest at

H/T Instapundit

Update: Also from EFF, An Open Letter From Internet Engineers to the Senate Judiciary Committee AND Tell Your Senator: No Website Blacklists, No Internet Censorship!

Update 2: New Cybersecurity Bill Gives Obama ‘Power To Shut Down Companies’

Businesses who don’t follow government orders would be suspended for at least 90 days with no congressional oversight

An amalgamated cybersecurity bill that lawmakers hope to pass before the end of the year includes new powers which would allow President Obama to shut down not only entire areas of the Internet, but also businesses and industries that fail to comply with government orders following the declaration of a national emergency – increasing fears that the legislation will be abused as a political tool.

The draft bill is a combination of two pieces of legislation originally crafted by Senators Lieberman and Rockefeller. One of the differences between the new bill and the original Lieberman version is that the Internet “kill switch” power has been limited to 90 days without congressional oversight, rather than the original period of four months contained in the Lieberman bill.

In other words, President Obama can issue an emergency declaration that lasts 30 days and he can renew it for a further 60 days before congress can step in to oversee the powers.

The new powers would give Obama a free hand to not only shut down entire areas of the Internet and block all Internet traffic from certain countries, but under the amalgamated bill he would also have the power to completely shut down industries that don’t follow government orders, according to a Reuters summary of the new bill…

Related: Pioneer Iran blogger sentenced to 19 years prison

Comments are closed.