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Backlash Against Domain Name "Blocking" Bill

Published September 30, 2010

The grumblings regarding the USA's proposed Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act (COICA) that would give the US Government the ability to reach out beyond its shores to block access to web sites has turned into an uproar.

Dozens of Internet pioneers have signed their name to an open letter protesting COICA, which in part states:

"The US government has regularly claimed that it supports a free and open Internet, both domestically and abroad. We can't have a free and open Internet without a global domain name system that sits above the political concerns and objectives of any one government or industry." 

Signatories of the open letter included:

The Electronic Frontier Foundation has also been actively encouraging people to write to U.S. senators  "to reject the entertainment industry's outrageous Internet censorship bill that would blacklist websites, interfere with the Internet's domain name system (DNS), and legitimize unilateral Internet censorship worldwide."

Less than 24 hours after the open letter was published, the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee have proposed changes to the controversial bill to give domain name registrars and online service providers additional protection in terms of legal liability. Internet service providers also would not need to modify network or facilities to comply with an order to shut down domain names and be given more time to observe orders.

Even with the various proposed changes, critics still charge that COICA is in effect nothing more than censorship legislation.

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