GoDaddy: a case study in how democracy is being lost

December 29th, 2011, is the official ‘Boycott GoDaddy Day’:  everyone is being encouraged to move any domain names they may have with GoDaddy

Why GoDaddy?

Let me count the ways…

Yes, GoDaddy has backtracked on their support of SOPA – but this is more than just a case of ‘too little, too late’.

GoDaddy actually helped draft SOPA – and is already one of the go-to companies when the US government  (long before SOPA ever becomes a law) wants to blacklist websites:

“That was good enough for Judge Kent Dawson to order the names seized and transferred to GoDaddy, where they would all redirect to a page serving notice of the seizure. In addition, a total ban on search engine indexing was ordered, one which neither Bing nor Google appears to have complied with yet.”

Yes – right now, long before SOPA, a judge had ordered that a website be transferred to GoDaddy in order for it to make it easier to blacklist them – following a court proceeding where the accused may not even be notified until after the ruling is made.

(Aside:  this shows that the stated goal of SOPA – to protect copyrights from pirating – is unnecessary, as all of this is already being accomplished under current laws.  The scales of justice are already very strongly tipped towards the copyright holder and against regular citizens – SOPA would not only tip them even further, it would destroy the internet as we know it.  If, say, one copyright holder complained that one single blogger at WordPress were to publish a link on their blog that led to a home movie of their kid singing a (copyrighted) pop song, under SOPA, the whole of WordPress and all the innocent blogs on it would be blacklisted!!!!  Yes – this is what life under SOPA would be, and not just in the US because the effects would be internet-wide!)

It seems GoDaddy is a willing tool at best, an active collaborator in the process of oppressing people without just process at worst.  This is the type of behaviour which enables totalitarian governments to keep their populace ‘under control’!

It is easy to see why it is so very easy for people to hate GoDaddy – even before one considers their idiotic commercials or their CEO’s weird hobby of shooting and killing elephants…

In other words, GoDaddy is a poster child for the collusion of government and business – the result of which is that government policy is increasingly shaped by the concerns (and thus passes laws to the benefit of) of a smaller and smaller circle of businesses.  This leaves the citizenry unable to affect political change, since legislators of all stripes are dependent on these corporate interests to raise sufficient funds.

Have you ever heard of the ‘four boxes’ necessary for constitutional democracy to function?

  • Soap box: A box you stand on in the street trying to explain your views to the public. Figuratively, building public opinion for your case.
  • Ballot box: Public, free, democratic elections. If the laws don’t work, and the elected representatives don’t get it, replace them.
  • Jury box: If no public representatives get it, neither the elected nor those available to elect, the second to last line of defense is the judicial system, which can overturn laws that go against the most fundamental rights.
  • Ammo box: If the system has been so thoroughly corrupted that the entire establishment is acting as one, and it is not possible to change the laws to safeguard fundamental liberties, then only one option remains.

Think about this while keeping in mind the lessons of SOPA:

  • Our soap box is being taken away on the internet using anti-piracy and anti-child-predator laws so badly written that once passed, they can be used to ‘disappear’ any voice on the internet the government does not like – at the same time as anti-terrorism laws coupled with classifying even non-violent protesters as ‘low-grade terrorists’  and the rise of anti-blasphemy legislation is stripping our rights to speak our minds in public.
  • Our ballot box has been made irrelevant:  the political process has been so twisted that now, in order to get elected, governments are less reliant on the citizenry than they are on an ever-narrowing circle of corporate and special interests.  We, the regular people, no longer believe that it makes any difference whom we vote for, because all the politicians are responding to the needs of this circle,, not to the citizens.  THAT is why the voter turnouts are falling so rapidly:  ordinary people believe that the ballot box has been lost to irrelevance…
  • The Jury box:  that is where we are now!  We are now relying on the last of the checks and balances – the judiciary – to protect us.  But, if the above-linked ruling and the Austrian ruling against Elisabeth Sabaditsch-Wolff are any indication, we are quickly but surely loosing our third box, on both sides of the big pond!
  • Which inevitably leaves us with the very last box:  the ammo box…  This is not something I would like to see happen, but we must never forget that all our rights exist only as long as we are prepared to take up arms to defend them…which is why there is such a direct link between how oppressive a government is and how much it wishes to disarm its citizens.

So, how did we get from the GoDaddy boycott to taking up arms in defense of our innate rights?

GoDaddy has highlighted just how close we are to having lost our first three boxes.

It has highlighted just how high the stakes are.

It has shown us just how hard we have to fight so that our society does not devolve to that fourth box!

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