My goodness, this is bad. We should expect a lot more from the political class who are voting on important issues such as making major changes to the internet. This is another example of why Americans dislike politicians and think they all deserve to be voted out of office. Senator Feinstein somehow believes that the tech industry supports SOPA/PIPA despite the long list of industry giants who are against it. Co-founders of Netscape, Mozilla Firefox, Google, Twitter, Flickr, Yahoo!, LinkedIn, Huffington Post, YouTube, PayPal, Craigslist, eBay, Wikipedia, and Blogger have all come out against it. Microsoft is against it. Facebook has said that it’s against it.
In the debates over SOPA and PROTECT IP (PIPA), one thing that has been clear is that neither California Senator has been any help at all. When asked about this, I’ve been told, multiple times, that despite both being from Northern California, as long-term politicians they’re completely ignorant of technology issues, and “follow the money” down to Southern California. We’ve already written about Zach Carter’s excellent behind the scenes report on the politicking behind SOPA and PROTECT IP, but there’s one ridiculous tidbit that was worth highlighting to show just how incredibly out of touch Senator Dianne Feinstein is. When asked about this issue, Feinstein appeared totally clueless, believing that the tech industry was fine with the bills: When HuffPost asked Feinstein, a Protect IP co-sponsor, if it was difficult for her to navigate the bill with Silicon Valley and Hollywood on opposite sides, she responded: “I don’t believe that they are. I thought we had reconciled the issues. The bill’s been passed out of committee.” The response seems incredible given the outcry from Silicon Valley, and Google in particular, but the complexity of the legislation has left many lawmakers vulnerable to K Street spin.
Is she blinded by campaign contributions or is she and her staff oblivious to the world around them? Either way, this is bad news.