SOPA, PIPA, and Google’s Changes to Privacy Settings

Google Censors its Name in Protest

SOPA and PIPA are two bills that have been temporarily shelved due to public pressure. They are internet crippling pieces of legislation written and pushed forward by the MPAA.  They make it possible to shut down almost any website that allows user generated content. These bills open the door to second and possible third party liability for user generated content. Under these bills private rights of action are allowed, circumventing the legal system and due process. Financial institutions and advertisers are given immunity for shutting down payments to sites accused of infringement,  can be sued, and may face criminal penalties if they do not comply. Which will lead to site being shut down after being accused of infringement. Much like the DMCA, this will be abused to shut down websites that compete with, embarrasses, ridicule, and tell the truth people do not want the public to see.

On Wednesday the 18th of January 2012, Wikipedia, Reddit, and many other sites went dark, Google censored its name in search and all of them directed people to where and how they could contact their government representatives about SOPA and PIPA. Leading to 14 million people emailing, calling, and signing petitions.

There was a virtual blackout on these events on the news networks and in the newspapers, who supported these bills. After the massive public outcry they suddenly began coverage of the events on the 18th.

Many people in the content and news industries believe Google is the root of their ills. Stealing their precious ideas, ruining their businesses, pointing people at infringing material, or just plain paranoid.

Unless you live on the corner of Rock and Under,  you know this already. It is an important lead up to the events that are, and will, unfold over the next year.

What most people do not know is, on 1-24-2012 Google announced changes to its privacy policy. Those changes are an being done so Google can pull all of their properties under the umbrella of Google+.  Currently they have in excess of 70 privacy policies, which will become a single policy that spans most of their properties. What this means to you is, you will no longer have to search YouTube for your cat video’s, G+ for your friends invite, and docs for that Vogon poetry you wrote for your ex. Instead, Google will allow you to search for the information that is spread out across multiple Google properties. This is information that is already on Google’s websites, you can become anonymous by just logging out.

With the lead up done,  now to the prediction tag on this post.

Over the next few months we will be seeing the news media attempting to out hype each other over Google’s privacy changes. Each reporter will be trying to out do the previous one in scare tactics and exaggerations. We are already seeing TV news organizations targeting the privacy changes. Since the politicians pay no heed to what is going on online, they know what is on the news, and believe that to be what people believe. The end result for Google will be federal investigations,  sub committee meetings into Google’s policy changes, and possible investigations into Google’s role in the events of the 18th. All driven by the mistaken belief, that Google is responsible for the public outcry. Even though they came to the party just a few hours beforehand. All of which will make the politicians, news, and content industry, look even more petty and corrupt to the people that actually communicate. We the people online.

Anyone see any other outcomes?

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