Turns Out SOPA/PIPA Wouldn’t Have Broken the Internet After All

Ten years on, Google has voluntarily implemented one of the then-controversial anti-piracy measures that were brought forward in the infamous SOPA/PIPA bills in the US (SOPA “Stop Online Piracy Act” was in the House of Representatives, PIPA Protect Intellectual Property Act was its equivalent in Senate). Remember those times? Google pushed back hard, using many avenues including its own front page “doodle” (throwing out objectivity and neutrality in the same breath). SOPA/PIPA were supposed to “break the internet”. Google co-Founder Sergey Brin compared it to censorship in China and Iran. Chairman Schmidt said it would “criminalize the fundamental structure of the internet itself”. This message resonated with the US policy-makers and the twin bills were thrown out.

As Torrentfreak notes, Google has now voluntarily executed one of the most criticised actions from those bills; removal of search results. That’s right, no court orders or laws, but voluntary action.

It’s great that Google steps up and takes some responsibility. It would be even greater if it was transparent about those decisions and the principles behind them. Oh, and the internet seems to be doing just fine. The “fundamental infrastructure” works (if not, how would you, dear reader, be able to see this post?). And China and Iran seem to be doing their censorship regardless of what the West thinks or does, perhaps with the support of Google itself.

Yes, I’m gloating. I promise to behave better, just not today.