Term Paper: SOPA &amp Pipa Legislation File

Pages: 7 (2341 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 5  ·  Topic: Political Science and Politics  ·  Buy for $19.77

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[. . .] Anyone who hacks or downloads these records can face criminal and civil penalties that are rarely applied in copyright cases. For example, the 1996 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) which includes a Privacy Rule requiring protection of all confidential information transmitted by phone or electronically. In the last ten years "we have become so accustomed to relying on technology that careful thought is not always given to subtle ways that privacy can be violated" (Corey 227). In an environment with relatively new technologies like email, cell phones, voice mail, clients are rightfully concerned that violations of privacy and leaks of confidential personal information have become more common than ever before. Legal and ethical guidelines prohibit the disclosure of confidential medical, psychiatric and legal information to unauthorized third parties. All providers have to be especially careful about passwords and access codes to voice mail, email and answering machines, or sending information via email and cell phones to persons or organizations other than their clients. Confidential information should never be sent to workplace computers or phones since employees have no right to privacy there. Employers have the right to monitor email and phone calls in their location or using their own telephones and computers, and also to monitor the activities of employees with hidden cameras and other spy devices, so workplace privacy can hardly be said to exist at all.

In short, this is an era of massive violations of privacy rights and individual liberties due to the new technologies of surveillance, data mining, electronic monitoring, biometric chips, spamming, hacking, phishing, and security breaches at major private and public institutions. These new technologies make the protection of privacy rights and copyright-protected material far more difficult than in the pre-electronic past. Given the nature of the Internet, thousands or even millions of people can view postings of confidential or protected materials via You Tube, Google and Facebook postings in a very short time, and they can quickly go 'viral' and spread globally almost overnight. Governments also collect data on the entire life cycles of individuals, from birth to death, as well as information on marriages, divorces, legal records, financial histories, voting, motor vehicles and property ownership, all of which could be publicized instantly. Banks, corporations and private organizations in general also collect an immense amount of personal and financial data for credit and marketing purposes. In short, these governmental and private organizations now have considerable power over "individual autonomy and decision making" thanks to these new technologies (Solove 2), but the SOFA/PIPA legislation is not designed to deal with these broader issues of privacy and confidentiality in the Internet era.

Existing laws do allow owners of copyrights to complain to YouTube, Wikipedia and other websites, which are required to take down any material that violates the law. Up to now, though, they have not been held civilly or criminally liable as long as they responded quickly to such requests. Indeed, YouTube today is littered with content that has been blocked or removed on copyright grounds. SOFA would certainly accelerate this process and be applied worldwide, given Internet posters and users little recourse against its application. Moreover, the legislation is very vague on just how broad these proposed new powers will be, and it certainly appears that large media and entertainment corporations are the real force behind. Naturally, they have attempted to create a faux-populism and 'astroturf' movement of their own, claiming to care about staring artists and writers who are losing out on royalties owed to them. In reality, of course, these giant companies have been very nervous about the Internet ever since it was invented, since has been costing them money for quite some time. Once SOPA is passed -- if it ever is -- smaller and newer websites may not be able to accept content from users at all for fear of being shut down or facing legal action. More and more, they will be forced to accept the paid content provided by the large media and entertainment corporations, which seems to be the true goal of legislation like SOPA/PIPA.

WORKS CITED

Corey, G. et al. Issues and Ethics in the Helping Professions, 8th Edition. Cengage Learning, 3011.

Howard, Alexander. "What You Need to Know About the Stop Online Piracy Act in 2012." The Huffington Post, December 23, 2011.

Ranney, Karen. "Digital Thieves Are Stealing from Me." The Hill, December 13, 2011.

http://thehill.com/blogs/congress-blog/technology/198981-digital-thieves-are-stealing-from-me

Smith, Lamar. "Fighting Online Piracy." New York Times, January 6, 2012.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/10/opinion/fighting-online-piracy.html?_r=1&scp=2&sq=lamar%20smith&st=cse

Smith, Lamar. "OPEN Act Increases Bureaucracy, Won't Stop IP Theft." U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on the Judiciary, January 19, 2012.

http://judiciary.house.gov/news/01192012.html?scp=2&sq=lamar%20smith&st=cse

Solove, D.J. et al. Privacy, Information, and Technology. Aspen Publishers, 2006.

Statement from Chairman Smith on Senate Delay of Vote on PROTECT IP Act. U.S. House of Representatives, Committee on the Judiciary, 2011.

http://judiciary.house.gov/issues/issues_RogueWebsites.html [END OF PREVIEW]

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