Karen Kwiatkowski: What does Bob Goodlatte have against the Internet?

While we don’t believe 10-term congressman Goodlatte speaks Mandarin, he has a lot in common with the Communists in Beijing, at least when it comes to regulating and controlling the Internet.

Goodlatte is the author of the House’s Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA, a costly regulatory attack on the Internet.  It is supposed to reduce copyright infringement – a problem already on the wane due to new software business models, encryption and other technological breakthroughs that America used to be known for.

In reality, SOPA will cause rapid and unnecessary government shutdowns of websites, and drive rights-holders and Internet service providers to do the same, all without due process.  If Sixth District voters want a law that violates the First and Fourth Amendments, crushes free speech and small businesses, we should support Bob’s SOPA.

SOPA is expensive and burdensome.  If Sixth District voters want a $50 million tax-funded spending hike in the coming years, we should support Bob’s SOPA.

SOPA would interfere with the architecture of the Internet.  One of the creators of the Internet, Vinton Cerf, is extremely upset.  He notes, “collateral damage of SOPA would be particularly regrettable because site blocking or redirection mechanisms are unlikely to make a significant dent in the availability of infringing material and counterfeits online, given that DNS manipulation can be defeated by simply choosing an offshore DNS resolution provider, maintaining one’s own local DNS cache or using direct IP address references.”

In simple terms, Vinton Cerf knows that if Sixth District voters want to destroy the current workability the Internet domain name system and drive American businesses and jobs overseas and underground – we couldn’t do better than to support Bob’s SOPA.

SOPA won’t prevent online copyright violations.  It is expensive, wrong-headed, harms both business and Internet architecture, and messes with the technological progress that has been made in the past 15 years.

What can Sixth District voters do?  First, we should require that Bob Goodlatte cease and desist, and do no harm.  While Goodlatte’s SOPA might be appealing in Communist China, North Korea, and Hollywood – it makes no sense, and runs counter to the letter and the ideals of the Constitution.

Bob doesn’t learn from his legislative mistakes, and he’s in too deep with Hollywood and West Coast lobbyists.   These mistakes include SOPA, his steadfast support of the Patriot Act, and his destruction of online gaming businesses in Virginia and across the country – in all of this, Bob just doesn’t get it.

SOPA has been described as handing out “chainsaws in an operating room.”  I have a strong suspicion that, in addition to not being able to understand how the Internet actually works, Bob Goodlatte has never used a chainsaw.

There is good news, though.   I’ve got several chainsaws Bob can borrow, and I’d be glad to give him lessons.  Bob with a chainsaw, while certainly a frightening prospect, would be a lot safer for the nation than SOPA, and way more productive.

Karen Kwiatkowski, a Mount Jackson cattle farmer and veteran, is challenging Bob Goodlatte in the Sixth District Republican congressional primary on June 12.

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