One of the most conservative Republican Congressman in the current House of Representatives – Steve Scalise from Louisiana’sHouse District 1 – is a co-sponsor of a bill that some say would allow the federal government to censor the internet.
The Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) would among other things give “Attorney General Eric Holder’s Department of Justice broad new powers to police the Internet,” according to California Congressman Darrel Issa.
The issue has become a hot-button subject in the last few days, with internet giant Wikipedia going dark for 24 hours, and many other websites asking users to contact their senators and congressmen.
Scalise or his spokesman had not returned a phone call by posting time.
Government efforts to control information flow has been an issue since the dawn of humankind.
At the time, the Holy Roman Church was more powerful than any kingdom on earth. Leo X excommunicated Luther, but his writings resulted in the Protestant Reformation.
Another famous example of government attempts to control human inter-communication was the Licensing of the Press Act of 1662.
England’s Parliament decreed: “An Act for preventing the frequent Abuses in printing seditious treasonable and unlicensed Bookes and Pamphlets and for regulating of Printing and Printing Presses.”
Printing presses were not to be set up without notice to the Stationers’ Company. A king’s messenger had power by warrant of the king or a secretary of state to enter and search for unlicensed presses and printing.