Tag Archives | New Zealand

Effects of SOPA on non-Americans

Few weeks ago, after small and major web sites blacked out in protest of SOPA, the US congress decided to pause it. Note, they did not throw it out completely but until they can come up with changes to make it pass. So the battle is not exactly over, even though the Internet won the first round. Those outside the US may think that American law does not affect them, but in reality it does, directly and indirectly. The latest victim was the file upload service Megaupload that was used both legitimately and illegitimately by users. The owner lived in New Zealand, had servers in many locations including places that were considered to be "safe" such as the Netherlands. They were also incorporated in Hong Kong. If you visit Megaupload (and its associated services) you will come across the following on its page (known as an ICE take down):

dojbanner 300x225 Effects of SOPA on non Americans

So how does SOPA affect those outside of US jurisdiction?

  • If it does pass in the US, what prevents it from spreading to other countries? DMCA take downs are even enforced by hosting providers outside the US with no business ties in the US.
  • People will stop being creative. No more video, music and images sharing to name a few. The mentality will be "if it looks illegal it probably is" even though it might be completely original content that publishers are willing to share.
  • A large portion of services used in the US are used by those outside. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Reddit and much, much more.
  • Do you have a website? There is a chance you are hosting it on an American web hosting company. Something you put on that is not illegal in your country, might be in the US. This blog is hosted in the UK, but the company providing the service is incorporated in the US, thus coming under US jurisdiction.
  • Do you own a domain operated by a US entity? .com and .net are run by Verisign (a US based company), .org is US based as well. Look at what the Department of Justice did to Megaupload's page. All it takes is a change in the nameservers.
  • If you use something like PayPal to receive payments, you may have your account suspended and frozen. Even if you were selling stuff legal in your country or region.
  • Search engines could start censoring results. Google provide search results based on location, but come under US laws, so they may not show you results to services legal in your country but illegal in the US.

This is by far not an exhaustive list. The list goes on and on and on. So in case SOPA comes up again, think how it might affect you living outside the US. Every little bit of support helps.


World Cup: Stressful

Yep it’s back again, the World Cup. It is unfortunate that Bahrain wasn’t able to qualify (it would’ve been in New Zealand’s group if qualified), but luckily for me I am half Brazilian. Yep, half 5 time champions, cup holders, stars on jersey etc… I am proud that my other half are the best around to compensate the second half, after all its not everyday you meet a half Bahraini/Brazilian.

In the past, pre World Cup 1998 when I was quite young the World Cup was something I looked forward to eagerly, I still remember the final match of 1994: Brazil vs. Italy. I was then looking forward for the next cup to see Brazil win again (would’ve been the 5th win). But alas the Brazil vs. France match was on French soil and they won. I was embarrassed to go to school the next day but I had to. I was mocked all day but a few words silenced my local friends: “…at least they played in the cup!”.

Years passed, and 2002 came, Brazil took the cup back but I did suffer during the WC period. Another 4 years and I was now studying in Malaysia away from home when the cup took place. Match after match with Brazil, I had decided not to watch and find out the result the next day (it took place late night Malaysia time). I was in Bahrain during a part of the cup that year, most notably the Brazil vs. France game. I slept through that match. I woke up next morning with a white board next to me written by mother “Brazil lost” and a sad face…

From that year on I struggle to watch a Brazil match when it is during an important championship. Sometimes I feel like I need an ambulance on stand by, because that is how intense it is for me. My heart beats fast, my pressure goes up, I can feel the adrenaline pumping to the point where I feel a bit sick. It seems like it has become a curse to me…

So the cup is back once again, I watched the first half of the match Brazil vs. North Korea, the playing was in my opinion very weak and I thought Brazil were not going to make it. I was frustrated enough to skip the second half (the goals they made later weren’t going to get me back on the couch).

I am confident Brazil can take the cup once again, although the other teams all seem to be doing pretty good. I hope I get the balls to watch the other Brazil matches!!!!!