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SOPA, PIPA, ACTA & The Cloud

SOPA (the Stop Online Piracy Act) has gone dormant for now, thanks to a massive outcry by millions of end-users who are, ironically, far better clued up about how the Interpipes work than the legislators debating the bills and a host of big-name companies, like Facebook, Yahoo, Google and so on. It’s really awesome to see the industry rally together to fight a piece of legislation that is so badly conceived that it would wreck many more lives and sources of revenue than it would save.

Case in point: MegaUpload. The site was shut down in the middle of the PIPA/SOPA debate/outcry. I remain undecided whether this was hilarious inability to see past first-order thinking, blind stupidity or whether someone on the inside really didn’t want SOPA to go through and chose to pull this off to galvanise the masses against the House. The jury is still out on that one and feel free to make up your own theories.

Back on topic, though – MegaUpload, while being a data haven for people uploading films and MP3s that were occasionally in breach of copyright, was primarily a place for businesses – mostly small and medium privately-owned entreprises – to store their data so it would be safe in “The Cloud”. Their clients/customers could get at files they needed and the business didn’t have to worry about paying for terabytes of SAN storage as well as the hefty bandwidth fees that they would incur if they ran their own file service.

The fact that the SOPA/PIPA and now ACTA are giving America the power to essentially go after any site that hosts content in breach of copyright, even unknowingly, means that cloud providers are now at huge risk of liability. Either that or become private police, snooping on their users’ data, much like DropBox was accused of, despite claims by them stating that their staff had no access to user data.

Cloud providers the world over now have a decision to make: sacrifice user privacy in order to protect their own interests – and thereby likely lose a lot of business from the more privacy-sensitive clients – or close up shop.

For more information on the latest threat to net neutrality, ACTA, have a look at this: