Wikileaks publishes draft of secretive TPP trade pact

Wikileaks released on Wednesday what it called the draft text of a secretly negotiated international economic treaty that critics warn could limit Internet freedoms.

The document-leaking organization published a draft of the Intellectual Property Rights chapter for the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a proposed free-trade agreement between the US and 11 Pacific Rim nations that's been under negotiation for nearly three years. However, because the Obama administration has deemed the talks to be classified information, this appears to be the first time the public is getting a glimpse at the pact.

The 95-page chapter focuses on digital rights management, patents, … Read more

Film 'War for Web' warns of CISPA, SOPA, future threats

From Aaron Swartz's struggles with an antihacking law to Hollywood's lobbying to a raft of surveillance proposals, the Internet and its users' rights are under attack as never before, according to the creators of a forthcoming documentary film.

The film, titled "War for the Web," traces the physical infrastructure of the Internet, from fat underwater cables to living room routers, as a way to explain the story of what's behind the high-volume politicking over proposals like CISPA, Net neutrality, and the Stop Online Piracy Act.

"People talk about security, people talk about privacy, they … Read more

Senator disputes Aaron Swartz's SOPA, Protect IP role

Patrick Leahy, chairman of the Senate Judiciary committee, is taking issue with a description of how a discussion with one of his aides led the late Aaron Swartz to campaign against Hollywood-backed copyright bills.

At an event in San Francisco last weekend, Peter Eckersley, Swartz's former roommate and the Electronic Frontier Foundation's technology projects director, told an audience that the late activist created the advocacy group Demand Progress after a fruitless meeting with one of Leahy's aides.

Aaron Cooper, who works for Leahy -- the author of the Protect IP Act -- as the chief intellectual property … Read more

How Aaron Swartz helped to defeat Hollywood on SOPA

SAN FRANCISCO -- A fruitless Capitol Hill meeting to discuss digital copyright legislation prompted the late activist Aaron Swartz to launch the Demand Progress advocacy group, his former roommate said at a gathering here last weekend.

Swartz was so frustrated with congressional willingness to break the Internet on Hollywood's behalf that he created a group to channel online outrage into political activism, said Peter Eckersley, the Electronic Frontier Foundation's technology projects director.

Eckersley said Swartz had met with Aaron Cooper, who works for Protect IP author Patrick Leahy as the chief intellectual property counsel for the Senate Judiciary … Read more

After a year in the grave, can SOPA and Protect IP return?

It was one year ago today that an unprecedented outcry against the Stop Online Piracy Act proved to Washington officialdom that sufficiently irritated Internet users are a potent political force. After Wikipedia, Google, Craigslist and other major sites asked their users to contact their representatives, the deluge of traffic knocked some Senate Web sites offline, and votes on both bills were indefinitely postponed.

The massive public outcry that, by some counts, involved more than 10 million Internet users concerned about the proposals' impact on free expression has turned the protests into a cautionary tale on Capitol Hill. Aides now worry … Read more

Policy and privacy: Five reasons why 2012 mattered

This was the year of Internet activism with a sharp political point to it: Protests drove a stake through the heart of a Hollywood-backed digital copyright bill, helped derail a United Nations summit, and contributed to the demise of a proposed data-sharing law.

In 2012, when Internet users and companies flexed their political muscles, they realized they were stronger than they had thought. It amounted to a show of force not seen since the political wrangling over implanting copy-protection technology in PCs a decade ago, or perhaps since those blue ribbons that appeared on Web sites in the mid-1990s in … Read more

SOPA legislation

When it comes to cracking down on Internet piracy, Hollywood has been used to getting its own way on Capitol Hill. For the last 15 years, the Motion Picture Association of America and its allies have tallied an enviable list of political victories: the No Electronic Theft Act (1997), the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (1998), the Family Entertainment and Copyright Act (2005), and the Pro-IP Act (2008).

But in 2012, something strange happened. Hollywood and its allies among large copyright holders actually lost.

The Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA, and a parallel Senate version called Protect IP were designed … Read more

Meet Rep. Bob Goodlatte, Hollywood's new copyright ally

The outgoing chairman of a House of Representatives panel responsible for U.S. copyright law conceived the memorable Stop Online Piracy Act. Its next chairman happens to be even more enthusiastic about expanding digital copyright law.

Rep. Bob Goodlatte was elected head of the House Judiciary committee today, much to the dismay of advocacy groups that had doggedly worked to defeat SOPA and Protect IP a year ago.

The Virginia Republican has long been a steadfast ally of Hollywood and other large copyright holders, saying as recently as two months ago that "I remain committed to enacting strong copyright … Read more

Congressman proposes two-year ban on Net regulation bills

A new proposal would temporarily stop the federal government from pushing through bills and regulations on the Internet's content.

Recent attempts to regulate the Internet -- in the form of SOPA, PIPA, and CISPA -- are all dead in the water after failing in Congress. But the potential of poorly thought-out changes remains a reality.

U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) released a draft of the proposed bill, dubbed the "Internet American Moratorium Act 2012," to Project Madison on Monday. The crowdsourcing platform allows people to read and amend draft bills online, striking through text and adding … Read more

Friday Poll: Did stances on tech issues sway your vote?

Some major technology-related political hot potatoes have been tossed around this past year. The Stop Online Piracy Act may have gotten the most attention.

CNET broke down the presidential candidates' stances on a variety of tech issues before the election. For example, when it came to SOPA, Romney spoke out against it, while Obama danced a little more delicately around the issue.

The election will be shaping the direction of tech-related legislation for several years to come. It has already had an impact by weeding out three SOPA-sponsoring congressmen.

As an informed geek voter, how much did tech issues sway … Read more