January 20, 2012

Follow-Up on Decision to Protest SOPA

Chris LaHatte, the ICANN Ombudsman, makes an excellent point related to my decision to take a position against the Stop Online Piracy Act (HR 3261) and related legislation. 

At his blog, he writes: 
Some of my ombuds colleagues have joined in the protest about legislation before the US Congress, expressing concerns about the effect of freedom in various ways. I am not a resident of the United States and would be hesitant to make submissions or protest legislation before a foreign government. I respect the right to free speech and the right to protest but I am not going to make comment either for or against this legislation. An important part of the role of an Ombudsman is neutrality, and a political campaign is no exception. Who knows when a protest like this might undermine a decision on fairness, if one of the parties was affected by something which happened in relation to the protest or the legislation? So I decline to participate, not because I support or oppose the legislation, but because I must maintain neutrality. (ICANN Ombudsman Blog.) 
I agree with his point and respect his decision on this issue. Neutrality is a critical attribute of Ombuds work. I know many ombuds who will not reveal their political, religious or social views–even to their colleagues. 

My decision to speak out on SOPA reflects only my work as the publisher of the Ombuds Blog. I felt it important that my readers know that the blog would probably shut down if SOPA were to be implemented as currently written.

Related post:  Ombuds Blog Goes 'Dark' to Protest SOPA.


  1. Would you please explain what section of SOPA would lead you to close the blog?

  2. See comments to first article.

  3. I misspelled Chris LaHatte's name in the first version of this post. My apologies.