It’s embarrassing enough to watch politicians who don’t know a server from a waiter debating the SOPA legislation that the architects of the internet say will make the web less effective and less safe. But yesterday the members of the Judiciary Committee decided to spend a good portion of the time they set aside to discuss these news laws insulting each other on Twitter and arguing over inane parliamentary procedures.
Here’s how things played out.
The tweet in question came from Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) tweeted out,
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, a Texas Democrat who CNET notes was was named the “meanest” member of congress by Washingtonian magazine, wasn’t having it. She stopped the hearing to read the tweet out loud and declared that Rep. King should apologize for his offensive behavior.
At this point Rep. F. James Sensenbrenner (R-Wisc.) suggested that the word “offensive” was itself offensive and should be stricken from the record. A ludicrous back-and-forth ensued.
In the meantime, all the amendments to the bill which would have removed the worst parts of the bill, like DNS blocking, were voted down by the pro-SOPA majority on the committee.
We’ll leave you with the words of 83 engineers instrumental in building the internet, from their open letter to Congress:
“Censorship of Internet infrastructure will inevitably cause network errors and security problems. This is true in China, Iran and other countries that censor the network today; it will be just as true of American censorship. It is also true regardless of whether censorship is implemented via the DNS, proxies, firewalls, or any other method. Types of network errors and insecurity that we wrestle with today will become more widespread, and will affect sites other than those blacklisted by the American government.”