The White House has released its official response to a petition calling for the Obama administration to veto the controversial Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA), and its Senate version, Protect IP Act (PIPA), with the administration supporting the idea of an open web. But the White House's stance has come under attack by News Corp's Rupert Murdoch, accusing President Obama of supporting his "Silicon Valley paymasters", via Twitter.
The White House's official response, formulated by Copyright Czar Victoria Espinel, Aneesh Chopra (U.S. Chief Technology Officer and Assistant to the President and Associate Director for Technology at the Office of Science and Technology Policy) and Howard Schmidt (Special Assistant to the President and Cybersecurity Coordinator for National Security Staff), highlighted the importance of protecting intellectual property online, but also called for a balanced approach that do not put in jeopardy cybersecurity issues, or any plans that threaten to censor the Internet.
"Any effort to combat online piracy must guard against the risk of online censorship of lawful activity and must not inhibit innovation by our dynamic businesses large and small ... We must avoid creating new cybersecurity risks or disrupting the underlying architecture of the Internet", read the statement.
With tech giants, including Google, and prominent web engineers already coming out to criticize to DNS filtering provision of SOPA, the White House made clear that it will not support any bill containing DNS filtering. " Proposed laws must not tamper with the technical architecture of the Internet through manipulation of the Domain Name System (DNS), a foundation of Internet security," the statement added.
The White House's warning against DNS tampering appears to have been heeded by the two main sponsors of SOPA and PIPA, Rep. Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Sen. Patrick Leahy's, and both have promised to remove the DNS filtering provision from their respective bills pending further investigation.
But media mogul Rupert Murdoch has come out blasting Obama and Google for their opposition to SOPA, labelling Google as a "piracy leader" and accusing Obama of bowing to his "Silicon Valley paymasters" in coming up with the administration's official response to SOPA.
"So Obama has thrown in his lot withSilicon Valley paymasters who threaten all software creators with piracy, plain thievery. -" read one tweet, while anotherread "Piracy leader is Google who streams movies free, sells advts around them. No wonder pouring millions into lobbying."
In related news, Reddit and other websites are planning a day of action on January 18 by blanking out their entire websites for 24 hours. Wikipedia is also joining in on the protest, prompting founder Jimmy Wales to tweet "Student warning! Do your homework early. Wikipedia protesting bad law on Wednesday!"
Reddit is one of the largest communities online, and Wikipedia has 25 million daily visitors.