DeSopa Firefox Add-On Lets Users Circumvent SOPA Restrictions

As the public debate over the merits and drawbacks of the SOPA bill continues, consumers and privacy advocates already are looking for ways to get around the provisions in the proposed anti-piracy law that they see as unreasonable and oppressive. In one example, a developer has published an extension for Firefox that helps users circumvent SOPA’s domain blacklisting.

DeSOPAAs the public debate over the merits and drawbacks of the SOPA bill continues, consumers and privacy advocates already are looking for ways to get around the provisions in the proposed anti-piracy law that they see as unreasonable and oppressive. In one example, a developer has published an extension for Firefox that helps users circumvent SOPA’s domain blacklisting.

The DeSopa add-on for Firefox is designed for the express purpose of helping users get to domains that the provisions in SOPA might be used to block. SOPA (Stop Online Piracy Act) is ostensibly meant to protect content creators and rights holders by cracking down on sites that host content that infringes on copyrights. However, many people have criticized the bill, saying that it is overly broad and could result in harsh sanctions on sites that have such content, whether it’s one song or photo or an entire site full of it. The bill also includes language that experts say could enable the government to block sites in other countries that host such content.

There also have been concerns raised about the security and network-stability implications because of the way that the proposed system would work. The EFF and others have said that the bill would stifle technological innovation and could force some sites offline. The DeSopa Firefox add-on is meant to help users get around these restrictions by not using the domain to resolve URLs, but rather using IP addresses.

“This program is a proof of concept that SOPA will not help prevent piracy. The program, implemented as a Firefox extension, simply contacts offshore domain name resolution services to obtain the IP address for any desired website, and accesses those websites directly via IP. Similar offshore resolution services will eventually maintain their own cache of websites, without blacklisting, in order to meet the demand created by SOPA,” the designer of DeSopa, Tamer Rizk, wrote in the release notes for the add-on.

“If SOPA is implemented, thousands of similar and more innovative programs and services will sprout up to provide access to the websites that people frequent. SOPA is a mistake. It does not even technically help solve the underlying problem, as this software illustrates. What it will do is give undue leverage to predatory organizations, cripple innocent third party websites, severely dampen digital innovation and negatively impact the integrity and security of the Internet. “

House of Representatives members spent two days last week in markup hearings for SOPA, eventually deciding nothing and pushing off any decisions on amendments to the bill until next year. There is a similar bill in play in the Senate, known as PIPA (Protect IP Act), and a group of Internet pioneers and security experts has weighed in on the bills’ flaws and problems in a letter sent to Congress last week.

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Discussion

  • marlenedesu on

    Where did DeSopa go? It's no longer on Firefox's list of add-ons....?
  • gryphon on

    > Where did DeSopa go? It's no longer on Firefox's list of add-ons....?

    I've been trying to download it for hours, kept getting connection failures.  Then tried "searching" for it and saw that it was no longer available. Hmmm....

  • dennisspider on

    This is always exciting, and I prefer to read quality content, so I am happy to find so many good points here in a message, the writing is just great, thank you for the position

  • fatbuckel on

    I guess following up on a story requires actually doing something, not just copying and pasting a story,huh?

  • Aardvark on

    Be warned that the current implementation of SOPA makes it a crime have and use tools such as DeSOPA.  The congressional dimwits are always thinking of new ways to create criminals. 

  • Anonymous on

    Under SOPA, wouldn't threatpost.com get blocked for this post? Folks we need to be heard on this one...
  • Anonymous on

    Freak not! It will not pass! Too much money says NO! And money wins over monkey ever time!
  • Anonymous on

     the end is near

  • Anonymous on

    It's funny, SOPA may think that it will destroy the online world of sharing..

    THing is the Internet was originally built so as to introduce a new way of sharing. Soo stop sharing? and what else would the net be usefull for? Free porn?? Dont think sooo

    Small little thing Sopa might not have thought of, or might have but not throughly ..

    The world does not only consist of Sopa agents and activists - There will always be those who think otherwise and therefore creates the balance.

    It might be able to pass, this doesn't mean that it will work. If portionate savvi people can crack encryption and app security within days.. What will a global effort in the Anti Sopa present withing a few Hours.. Good luck to you both I say, As the war will long not be over.

    *Gets popcorn*

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