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SOPA Not Even Passed and Work-Around is Already Available

By - Source: RawStory | B 38 comments

Two useful browser add-ons demonstrate how SOPA would do nothing to stop criminal behavior.

Though the Stop Online Piracy Act, or SOPA, is currently hibernating until congress goes back in session in early 2012, the threat that is may yet pass is still very real. Fortunately, as if to prove how out of touch and misguided our legislators are, software developers have already created means by which Internet users could completely circumvent one of the bill's most controversial provisions.

The provision in question would force search engines, advertisers, banking and financial firms and even Internet service providers  to de-list websites accused - not proven, but simply accused - of copyright infringement. The provision even includes language that would allow the Justice Department to force ISPs to falsify DNS records so as to prevent users from being able to even locate a suspect site. That's bad... particularly for Internet users who are completely uninitiated. But for the rest of us who aren't members of Congress, two brilliant Firefox add-ons provide ingenious workarounds.

The first, The Pirate Bay Dance (download Link)  was released on November 30th by a group calling itself MAFIAAFire. Named for the popular (and controversial) torrent hub The Pirate bay, The Pirate Bay Dance routes users to proscribed websites through a random selection of proxies in order to evade local IP and DNA blocks. The second SOPA circumvention, called DeSopa (download link), is more subtle. Once installed, users can simply click a button to tell Firefox to ignore domestic DNS blocks entirely and locate a blocked site using its IP address via foreign DNS servers.

DeSopa developer T Rizk, speaking to Torrent Freak, explained his motivation for creating the add-on. "I feel that the general public is not aware of the gravity of SOPA," he said, adding that "Congress seems like they are about to cater to the special interests involved, to the detriment of Internet." Acknowledging the problem with expansive laws affecting aspects of society the lawgivers have no experience with, he noted that congressional members may not "understand that it is technically not going to work, at all. So here’s some proof that I hope will help them err on the side of reason and vote SOPA down." Indeed.

It's telling that though the bill hasn't passed yet, effective workarounds are already available, proving that in much the same way DRM on DVDs, music and video games does nothing to prevent piracy but greatly inconveniences law abiding consumers, the odious Internet blacklist that SOPA would authorize is equally pointless. Of course, though both add-ons defang one of SOPA's nastier aspects, there is little that could be done, save a Supreme Court decision, to stop the provision that allows 'copyright holders' (which we should understand to mean major corporate entities with lavish financial assets) to act independently of the government in order to close down accused infringers without notification or prior review. Hopefully, embarrassing developments like these will help make passage of SOPA more difficult, once Congress resumes in January.

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  • 28 Hide
    phasmantis , December 22, 2011 12:33 PM
    wiyosayaWhere there's a law, there's a hack to get around it.

    Where there's clueless legislators, there's people who know what the hell they're doing (the public)!
  • 24 Hide
    wiyosaya , December 22, 2011 12:19 PM
    Where there's a law, there's a hack to get around it.
  • 24 Hide
    fandroid , December 22, 2011 12:37 PM
    phasmantisWhere there's clueless legislators, there's people who know what the hell they're doing (the public)!

    The same people who keep voting them back into office and aren't outraged at this bill enough to do anything to stop it? Those people?
Other Comments
  • 24 Hide
    wiyosaya , December 22, 2011 12:19 PM
    Where there's a law, there's a hack to get around it.
  • 28 Hide
    phasmantis , December 22, 2011 12:33 PM
    wiyosayaWhere there's a law, there's a hack to get around it.

    Where there's clueless legislators, there's people who know what the hell they're doing (the public)!
  • 21 Hide
    Goldengoose , December 22, 2011 12:36 PM
    The Internet community gets one over on the big wigs - just makes you feel warm inside.
  • 24 Hide
    fandroid , December 22, 2011 12:37 PM
    phasmantisWhere there's clueless legislators, there's people who know what the hell they're doing (the public)!

    The same people who keep voting them back into office and aren't outraged at this bill enough to do anything to stop it? Those people?
  • 13 Hide
    Onus , December 22, 2011 12:47 PM
    No, fandroid, they aren't. Congresscritters are unaccountable leeches, who live in their own little world, lording it over the rest of us. They buy votes of the ignorant masses with unearned benefits (which has bankrupted the country), and only support those who fill their campaign coffers; anyone else be damned.
  • -1 Hide
    masterasia , December 22, 2011 12:49 PM
    Does this mean I can still download movies like Hurt Locker and not get in trouble?
  • 3 Hide
    wiyosaya , December 22, 2011 12:51 PM
    GoldengooseThe Internet community gets one over on the big wigs - just makes you feel warm inside.

    From what is described in these "hacks," it seems that it would be pretty easy to get around this for anyone who runs their own, private DNS on their local network. There are lots of public DNS servers out there that are outside of the US. All one would need to do is point the network DNS to a public DNS that is located outside of the US. Said DNS could be a primary or a fail-over. For the US based private DNS runner, it would be a trivial change in configuration.
  • 14 Hide
    digitalzom-b , December 22, 2011 12:54 PM
    fandroidThe same people who keep voting them back into office and aren't outraged at this bill enough to do anything to stop it? Those people?


    The people who understand this technology work in the field, not in the senate playing "pay me to make a decision." They're also a minority. Don't be fooled by the sense of control you think we have as a democracy. Money votes.
  • 3 Hide
    tului , December 22, 2011 1:05 PM
    digitalzom-bThe people who understand this technology work in the field, not in the senate playing "pay me to make a decision." They're also a minority. Don't be fooled by the sense of control you think we have as a democracy. Money votes.

    It's a sad state of affairs.
  • 1 Hide
    pixecs , December 22, 2011 1:12 PM
    There is no desopa addon on mozilla website!
  • 2 Hide
    pixecs , December 22, 2011 1:15 PM
    Add-on homepage is: https://github.com/TamerRizk/desopa
  • -6 Hide
    eodeo , December 22, 2011 1:21 PM
    i hope SOPA and MAFFIAA burn for what they're trying to do. Not what they say what they want toi do, but rather for what they actually want. And may I be wrong about them.
  • 1 Hide
    memadmax , December 22, 2011 2:21 PM
    /dustsoffhismicrosoftserver2008booksandservers
    =D
  • 1 Hide
    memadmax , December 22, 2011 2:23 PM
    I think its hightime to start building an alternative to TCP/IP. I'm already on it =D
    No, I don't want to tunnel either.
  • 1 Hide
    mr_tuel , December 22, 2011 3:22 PM
    I feel bad for the majority of internet users who don't know about SOPA or how to circumvent its effects. OTOH makes me want to host a "rogue" DNS...
  • 1 Hide
    intelliclint , December 22, 2011 3:55 PM
    Plus users that want to could add the DNS entries into their routers, most routers cache these entries anyways.
  • -1 Hide
    NightLight , December 22, 2011 3:58 PM
    my golden rule: if you can play it, you can copy it.
  • 6 Hide
    wiyosaya , December 22, 2011 4:32 PM
    jacekringIf they pass this, I'm going to comb over the whitehouse.gov website for ANYTHING that might remotely be copyrighted by somebody else and file to have their site de-listed.
    :lol:  I would not be surprised if you found something. :lol: 
  • 2 Hide
    mindless728 , December 22, 2011 4:35 PM
    Well i think its time to have an in house DNS server
  • 4 Hide
    c_herring , December 22, 2011 5:07 PM
    jacekringIf they pass this, I'm going to comb over the whitehouse.gov website for ANYTHING that might remotely be copyrighted by somebody else and file to have their site de-listed.
    If it passes then we should really report the site of every congressman that votes in favor of SOPA, citing the provisions that give us the power to do so. Nowadays plenty of them use YouTube or link to the sites of newspapers, and they probably don't understand that the content they like to show about themselves is not owned by them.
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