The Internet’s resilience and ability to heal itself and work around intentional or unintentional damage are the stuff of legends. As with most legends, however, it is only partly true. Key components of the Internet’s technical infrastructure are still, to a large degree, and despite repeated efforts to decentralize them, concentrated in and controlled by the United States.
As a non-US resident who makes his living largely from the Internet, I am extremely pleased to see that the United States House of Representatives has recognized this weakness and is considering decisive measures to remedy the situation.
I am, of course, referring to SOPA. To summarize, SOPA is an incentive program designed for two purposes: first, to encourage organizations outside the US to replicate key parts of Internet infrastructure so that the Internet will be able to operate entirely outside US control; and second, to encourage US organizations to move their Internet operations overseas. If SOPA is passed into law, the Internet will soon become a truly global, independent, distributed and decentralized entity, able to operate completely outside the control of any single government or organization and organically work around any form of censorship or sabotage. The downside is that the United States will become a sort of Internet ghetto, fenced off from the rest of the world and strictly policed, much like Iran and China are today; but that is a small price to pay. The Internet, with a few regrettable exceptions, will finally be truly free.
So please, dear Members of Congress, I implore you: vote for SOPA. Not for yourself, not for your country, but for the world.